(By Keith Nix) Why fast? Is it required? Is it beneficial? Is it an antiquated practice that is no longer valid for Christians? Many today believe that fasting is a religious work of the flesh that only speaks of bondage since Jesus finished the work at Calvary. Some do indeed approach fasting with legalistic religious vigor and place their confidence in their discipline rather than in the power of God. Others view fasting as a valuable tool in weight reduction but of no significant spiritual value. What does the Bible say?

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes wrote, “A threefold cord is not quickly broken” (4:12c). Jesus gave His disciples (I hope that includes you) the formula of a threefold cord for our lives. Matthew records where Jesus said, “When you give … when you pray … when you fast …” Matt. 6:2,5,12 NLT). Notice that Jesus didn’t make these three acts optional for a believer. His instruction wasn’t if, but when. So, giving, praying and fasting for the believer is not optional. Neither does God treat them like extra credit. They are core elements of the Christian life. There is an assumption that disciples will have periods of fasting in their journey of following Christ. In fact, when you look at the New Testament believers, it is easy to see that fasting is a standard practice. MORE