“Then they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David; and they gave him bread and he ate, and they let him drink water. And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs and two clusters of raisins. So when he had eaten, his strength came back to him; for he had eaten no bread nor drunk water for three days and three nights. Then David said to him, “To whom do you belong, and where are you from?” And he said, “I am a young man from Egypt, servant of an Amalekite; and my master left me behind, because three days ago I fell sick.” 1 Samuel 30:11-13
In this portion of God’s Word we learn that fasting can lead to physical healing. Of course, there are other Scriptures that teach the same truth. We must be careful to never build a doctrine on one isolated Scripture. 2 Corinthians 13:1 says, “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.”
Isaiah chapter 58 talks about the many benefits of fasting. In verse 8 it declares, “Then your light shall break forth like the morning, YOUR HEALING SHALL SPRING FORTH SPEEDILY, and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” As you can see, there are not only great spiritual benefits to fasting, but there are physical benefits as well.
I am not a medical doctor, and one should always consult a doctor before you fast, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition, or are on prescription medications. However, fasting is an ancient practice that has been used to cure illnesses for centuries. Fasting allows your body to cleanse itself of excess toxins and to heal itself. This purification process usually begins after one has gone at least 24 hours without food. A periodic three-day fast is suggested for health reasons by many nutritionists.
As believers, we are commanded in God’s Word to fast. In Matthew chapter 6 Jesus commands the believer to give alms to the poor, to pray and to fast. It is clear that God expects fasting to be a part of our regular spiritual discipline, just like giving and prayer.
In Matthew 6:18 Jesus tells us that there are rewards to fasting. For one thing, fasting will help you keep your flesh under control. After all, how can you command your body to be well if you cannot even control its appetite? Fasting will help you gain authority over your body by telling it “no” when it comes to food.
Lastly, it is important to differentiate between fasting and dieting. Fasting is a spiritual discipline. In order for it to be effective, you should spend as much time as possible alone in prayer while you are on your fast. By doing so, you will not only reap the physical health benefits to fasting, but you will also reap the many wonderful spiritual benefits!
Confession: I have authority over my body. My body has to obey me!