Fasting (danjiki) is often misunderstood by many Christians. This
sermon is intended to provide a basic overview of the biblical
teachings on fasting.
Should a Christian fast? Yes. Jesus said, “When you fast” (Matthew
6:17), not “if you fast.”
Are there physical dangers associated with fasting? Yes. You should
consult your doctor, particularly with a long-term fast.
Are there spiritual dangers associated with fasting? Yes! Some of these are:
Jesus said, “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the
hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be
seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that
your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in
secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matt
“Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a
wicked fist.” (Isaiah 58:4)
3. Trying to manipulate God
Some people think that they can fast to make God do what they want him
to do. God cannot be manipulated.
Speaking about Jesus: “after fasting forty days and forty nights, he
was hungry.3 And the tempter came and said to him” (Matt 4:2-3)
Satan is not a dummy. He attacked Jesus when Jesus was weakest.
What are some of the benefits of fasting?
1. We are better able to stand up to temptation.
– Speaking about Jesus: “we do not have a high priest who is unable to
sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been
tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb 4:15)
– Jesus never sinned, but fasting was one of the ways in which he
stood up to the Devil.
2. Fasting is used by God to change history
– Moses fasted: “So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty
nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the
tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.” (Exodus
– Esther fasted: “If you keep silent at this time, relief and
deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and
your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not
come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” 15 Then Esther told them
to reply to Mordecai, 16 “Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa,
and hold a fast on my behalf, and do not eat or drink for three days,
night or day. I and my young women will also fast as you do. Then I
will go to the king, though it is against the law, and if I perish, I
perish.” 17 Mordecai then went away and did everything as Esther had
ordered him.” (Esther 4:14-17)
– The early church fasted: “While they were worshiping the Lord and
fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for
the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and
praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts
– And of course, the Son of God fasted
3. the ability to put lesser pleasures in their place
God is better than any of his gifts. Fasting helps us to appreciate
God more than stuff.
How do I fast?
– What to expect physically
– What to seek
– What to pray for
– What to expect spiritually