Do you fast? By fast I mean have you denied yourself food over an extended period of time; not just turning off the TV for a week, or deciding not to play videogames for a weekend. The bible has a lot to say about food fasting, and I believe that it is something that we as believers should practice often. Jesus fasted for 40 days before he began his ministry. And during that time, I believe that he was totally emptied, so that he could be completely filled. There are several references to fasting throughout the new testament. And every time I hear about something completely miraculous happening today, it usually comes on the heels of a fast. I believe that Matthew 9:16-17 explains why it is so important. In it, Jesus says:
“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Jesus said this after answering a question about fasting from the Pharisees. You see, I believe that God wants to fill us with his Spirit, so that we can do the things he wants us to do. When people are healed, when men prophesy, when miracles happen, it is because the Holy Spirit is moving through us. But if we are to be filled with His spirit, we need to be a new wineskin. To become a new wineskin, we need to fast. By fasting, we are emptied of ourselves because we are consciously denying our flesh and are focusing on our relationship with Christ. During that time, God is making our old wineskins new, so that we can accept the new wine - or Holy Spirit. It is then that the Spirit can flow through us and do mighty things. When Jesus walked the earth and healed people, the bible mentions that power flowed out of him. He could actually feel or sense it happening. I believe that this is the wine, or Spirit, that filled him during his fast and that it is this Spirit that flowed out of him. How can the Holy Spirit truly flow through us if we are old wineskins? The bible says that it can’t because we would burst and the wine would run out.
Fasting is important. It isn’t just something believers did in bible times, it is something that we should be doing today. I heard a tape from a man who fasted for several weeks and God used him in the bush lands of India to heal broken bones, raise people from the dead and stand against the evil spirits that voodoo priests were casting upon him. He was fasted up, prayed up, and being a new wineskin was able to have the Holy Spirit fill him, and flow through him like nothing I’ve ever heard of in our current history. So, I encourage you to fast by denying yourself food, even if it is for just a day. And spend a concentrated amount of time in the word and praying to our Lord. I usually fast when something big is coming up, like when preparing for a ministry opportunity or if someone is about to have surgery. I encourage you to fast as well.