Fasting at the Spirit’s Direction

Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).  How else then can we fast?  A spiritual fast is authored by the Holy Spirit’s guidance and conducted by faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ alone, acknowledging that He has power not only to save, but also to sanctify [cleanse and empower].

Any fast that is conducted in a manner contrary to the nature of the New Covenant is unprofitable and vain, as no exercise of the self-will is an acceptable substitute for reliance upon God.  Pointedly, exercising willpower to fast leads to deception, pride [self-righteousness], and enslavement to a condemning, legalistic spirit.  Consider Paul’s words:  

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head Christ, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.  Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?  Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

–Colossians 2:20-23

Let’s look at Colossians 2:23 in some other Bible versions:  

  • These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires. [New Living Translation]

  • Although these have a reputation of wisdom by promoting ascetic practices, humility, and severe treatment of the body, they are not of any value in curbing self-indulgence. [Holman Christian Standard Bible]

  • Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. [New International Version]

  • These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. [English Standard Version]

At all points and in all things, let us hold fast to the Head from Whom the whole body draws its strength and each member gains the ability to do all things, fasting by faith in Christ, according to the Spirit’s leading (Romans 6:14-18, 7:18-25, 8:1-2,11-15; Colossians 2:19).

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