“They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel because they had died by the sword that day.” (2 Samuel 1:12 NLT)
“One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.”
(Acts 13:2 NLT)
As 2023 begins, we are engaging in a month of spiritual emphasis. During the month of January, we will be engaging in 21 days of prayer and fasting. Many churches and Christians have done away with this spiritual tool and discipline. What is fasting? In 2022, fasting for many means cutting out social media or television for a few weeks. For others, fasting is refusing to complain for a designated amount of time. None of these things are bad to do, but do they qualify for what the Bible describes as fasting? In the texts above, I reference two passages about fasting; one from the Old Testament and one from the New Testament. In the Old Testament passage, the Hebrew word used for fasting is the word “tsoom.” This word means to abstain from food, to fast or to cover over the mouth. In the New Testament, the word used for fasting is the word “nace-tyoo'-o.” This word means to abstain from food. In both examples, fasting is described as refraining from food. Although taking a break from the internet and social media may be a good thing to do, it does not qualify as biblical fasting. In fact, the early church did not have Facebook or Instagram. The early church did not have YouTube or Netflix. These luxuries did not exist and thus cannot qualify as biblical fasting. To fast biblically is to cover the mouth and refrain from eating food. Do not attempt to satisfy your conviction too fast by watering down its meaning and prescribed instruction. Engage in Biblical fasting this month and reap the reward of Biblical fasting this year in Jesus' name!