Practiced by people around the world for thousands of years, fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline. In the Bible, both Jews and Christians fasted regularly to deepening their faith and to draw closer to God.
Over the centuries it has fallen out of regular use among Christians, with many viewing the practice as an outdated or unnecessary spiritual practice. Yet, in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:16-18, He said, “when you fast” twice, implying that He expected His followers to fast. It wasn’t a matter of if they fasted, it was a matter of when.
Jesus modeled this principle when He fasted for forty days and nights before beginning his earthly ministry in Matthew 4.
By establishing a regular discipline of fasting, not only will you reap spiritual benefits, but you will also reap many physical benefits as well.
Keep reading to learn why you need to fast regularly.
Fasting for Spiritual Purposes
Fasting can be used to draw us closer to God. Therefore it is a means of helping us to discern His will more clearly.
Moses was the first to undertake a complete fast (See Exodus 34:28) for the purpose of receiving a revelation from God. The prophet Daniel undertook a partial fast (See Daniel 1:8-15) to prevent himself from being defiled. These verses in Daniel are also where we observe the health benefits associated with fasting from certain foods for a time.
Fasting is mentioned at least 77 times in both the Old and New Testaments. In God’s Word we find the people of God fasting for many reasons and various purposes:
- Fasts for revelation
- Fasts for overcoming sin, burdens, oppression, or bondage
- Fasts for meeting the needs of others
- Fasts for deliverance
- Fasts for healing
During Jesus’ earthly ministry he encountered a man with an epileptic son, who repeatedly tried to harm himself. Desperate to save his child, the man sought out Jesus’ disciples for intervention. They were not able to help, so the man personally sought out Jesus instead.
Jesus cast out the demon that had possessed the boy and healed him instantly. When asked by his disciples why they had failed in this task, Jesus initially replied that their level of faith was a significant factor. He then further clarified that some healing can only occur through prayer and fasting (Mark 9:14-29).
The implication is that fasting, along with faith and prayer, are not simply disciplines that can be used interchangeably. Rather, they are spiritual weapons to be wielded in concert for certain difficult situations.
The discipline of fasting is a highly effective tool for the Christian’s spiritual walk. But, it can have enormous benefits for our physical health as well, especially in these modern times.
Fasting for Physical Purposes
We no longer live in the pristine environment of the Garden of Eden. The truth is, modern living is full of toxic exposure. Today we are exposed to more environmental toxins in one day than our grandparents were exposed to in their entire lifetimes.
Few of us eat perfectly healthy all the time. Even if we did, we’d still have to contend with the toxins we are exposed to from the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the products we use.
Jay Kordich, a natural health advocate, believed that many chronic illnesses were the result of either toxicity or nutrient deficiency.
One of the easiest ways to address both concerns is by regularly completing either a partial or total fast. An ideal partial fast consists of a whole foods, low-inflammatory diet. A total fast gives the body time to repair by directing energy away from digestion to healing.
Common Sources of Toxins in Modern Life
Toxicity is a significant driver of illness. So, what are the most common sources of toxins and inflammation in our lives today?
- Food – The standard American diet consists of many man-made and heavily-processed ingredients that our bodies doesn’t recognize as food. Dr. Mark Hyman, a renowned functional medicine doctor, calls this “food-like substance”. Stop and think about all the artificial ingredients, food coloring, preservatives, chemical additives, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and pathogenic organisms that have made their way into the food supply. Now you can understand why supporting our bodies with a regular fast could be helpful.
- Personal Care Products – Many of us apply things to our bodies multiple times a day without stopping to reflect what’s actually in them. Products like our makeup, skincare, toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo, nail polish, and hair dyes are largely unregulated by the FDA and may contain harmful ingredients. If we’ve been using these products over a lifetime, our bodies could benefit from a regular cleansing period.
- Air – Every year the American Lung association puts out a “State of the Air” report in the United States. A significant portion of the US population lives in counties with unsafe levels of air pollution being caused by either ozone or industrial pollution. The associated risks of air pollution include asthma and allergies, lung cancer, and even developmental disorders in some children.
- Water – According to the National Resource Defense Council our natural water sources are heavily polluted. Things like farm waste and fertilizer runoff, plastic debris, chemical and oil spills and illegal dumping are common contaminants. Add to that the abundance of pharmaceutical medications in our drinking water and you can see why supporting the body’s elimination systems by doing a regular fast is so important.
- Stress – In August of every year, the American Psychological Association publishes its Stress in America Report which shows Americans from all walks of life are chronically stressed. Whether it’s resulting from politics, personal finances, healthcare, or relationships, stress can trigger harmful inflammation in our bodies that is detrimental to our health.
Because our bodies are constantly being assaulted from air, food, water and other sources, literally anyone walking on the earth today can benefit from a regular fast.
Physical Benefits of Fasting
Fasting is effective because it removes significant sources of toxins from the foods we eat, while supporting our digestive systems and reducing overall levels of inflammation.
Here are just a few of the physical benefits you can expect from regular fasting:
- Increased energy and vitality
- Improved digestion
- Allergy relief
- Weight loss
- Hormonal balance
- Longevity and disease prevention
- Relief from minor health conditions
- Tissue regeneration
- Increased general well-being
God designed our bodies to heal. If we give our bodies the right nutrients and support, we can reduce toxins and restore balance in a very short period of time.
Imagine how much more effective we as the Body of Christ could be for the Kingdom of God if excessive toxins and the resulting illnesses they cause were not standing in the way of our calling?
A Simple Solution for Fasting for Your Physical and Spiritual Health
When God lays out a principle in His Word, it is beneficial for our WHOLE lives. It should come as no surprise that the discipline of fasting has enormous benefits for our spiritual lives, but that it also can be a powerful tool for healing our bodies as well.
That’s why I created Fix Your Food: Fasting for Optimal Health, Energy, and Weight Loss. Fix Your Food is an online, self-paced 28 day experience for Christians who want to drastically improve their health, while also learning more about the spiritual aspects of fasting.
This 4 week biblically-based course isn’t about deprivation, quick fixes, or weight loss gimmicks. It’s about applying biblical concepts about food in practical ways so that you can be the person God called you to be.
Over 28 days, you will…
- Learn which foods work best for your body, so you can achieve God’s purpose and plan for you.
- Identify any hidden food sensitivities that are causing you to hold onto weight.
- Jumpstart your metabolism, so you can release excess weight you may be holding onto.
- Reduce cravings and hunger for foods that sabotage weight loss.
- Reduce inflammation and digestive issues, which is the major cause of bloating and many illnesses and disease
- Reduce stress so that your metabolism can function optimally.
God left us a roadmap right inside His Word on how to take care of ourselves. Once you understand and apply these biblical health principles, you will reap the benefits both physically and spiritually.
I will take you step-by-step through a simple fast that will make a huge difference in your health. And I’ve packed Fix Your Food with tons of content and value.
Inside the course, you’ll get:
- 60-day online access, including comprehensive lessons and periodic email prompts so you know what to do and when.
- A step by by step daily protocol you can customize for your own needs and goals
- 21 days of devotionals covering biblical fasting and healing
- Shopping lists, recipes, and meal plans with over 30 breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack and treat recipes made with in-season ingredients.
- Daily support in a private Facebook group so you never feel stuck or like you’re in it alone.
Teaching my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ about Biblically-based health concepts is my passion. Above all, I want to see Christians experience vibrant health so that we can be more effective for God’s kingdom. I can’t think of a better way to be of service to the Church than by sharing these principles.
Now, I’d like to hear from you. What are your thoughts on fasting? Have you ever practiced the discipline of fasting? What were your results? Let me know!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DALILA JONES STITZ
Founder and CEO, Health Insurrection LLC
Dalila is a native Houstonian and currently lives in Switzerand with her husband and two kids. She received her health coach training through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and Hallelujah Acres and teaches in-home bible studies and online courses.