We Rise To Heaven Quickest When We Have Risen Over the World's Temptations
In a time of spiritual warfare -- and make no mistake, this is a time of spiritual warfare -- there is nothing more powerful than fasting, especially during Holy Week, and most especially, on Good Friday.
Let's remember that Jesus Himself had to fast -- for forty days -- before confronting the powers of this world, a world that He said is in the sway of the evil one. It is particularly potent to do this fasting on Fridays.
With fasting, we disengage the enemy. With fasting, we spiritually progress. As one writer put it, "Fasting has the power to take you from level-four spirituality to level seven. It doesn't matter where you are in your walk with the Lord. If you are level 20, it will take you to level 25. Fasting is the most powerful way I know of to hear from God."
In fact, without fasting, we're not truly sure, many times, what we are hearing.
Fasting cleanses. It purifies.
"Fasting moves the powerful Hand of God, releasing deliverance and victory for God's people," writes another author, Maria Vadia, in a new book called Pressing On in the Spirit. "It also releases faith and Holy Spirit power in our individual lives to resist and defeat the enemy. God intervenes on our behalf for our good and His glory. However, there is even more that the Lord releases into our lives as we humble ourselves with prayer and fasting."
Yet how many of us do? How many of us fast? If not on bread and water, how many at least cut something near and dear to them out of the picture? How many of us exhibit the kind of control over the flesh that Christ wants us to exert?
We need to remember that we rise to Heaven quickest when first we have risen over the temptations of this world.
The enemy is an expert at lying to us. Our minds are the battlefield. And fasting protects our thoughts. Clean thoughts come when the spirit has conquered the flesh -- and fasting is a most powerful exhibition of self-discipline.
Many intractable problems and "defeats" suddenly dissipate when we fast.
"This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting," Jesus said (Mark 9:29). Incredibly powerful are three-day fasts. When God's people faced extermination, Queen Esther decided she had to intervene and before doing so she proclaimed a three-day fast (how about this Wednesday through Good Friday?).
The spiritual world shifts when we offer up our sacrifice!
If there was more fasting in the Church, and even among active Marian groups, there would be less deception. If there was fasting in the U.S., there would not be spectacles such as the case of Terri Schiavo.
Fasting helps to birth the signs that follow the preaching of the Gospel, notes Vadia; it empowered the disciples, and it opens the door to miracles for us also.
These are not just stories. Try fasting and you will find a level of joy you didn't know even existed. You will find liberty. You'll see the true potential of prayer.
Fasting protects you. It puts you on both the spiritual defensive and offensive. It repulses the enemy (who is the master of self-indulgence).
"There is revelation, healing, protection, answered prayer, promise of His Presence, joy, guidance, satisfaction, strength, refreshment, restoration, and exaltation when we fast the way that pleases Him," writes Vadia.
Fasting leads to jobs we seek, to relationships we want, to deliverance, to cures for which we plead, to peace and victory no matter the circumstances!
Go ahead and have some decaf tea, if you must. Or coffee. Some juice. Do what you can. God will honor whatever you can bring to Him. But bring something, cut out something -- and watch this Holy Week become the most powerful and cleansing one for you ever.
[Bookstore resources: Pressing On in the Spirit]
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