Fasting is a very important habit, a very powerful thing that opens us up to receive more of the Lord and have less of ourselves. Fasting is more than just depriving ourselves of food for a certain period of time. It's a means to achieve something that we cannot achieve using any other means.
Fasting Is Good
Unlike medical fasting where a patient merely avoids food in preparation for some medical examination, or weight-loss fasting where people deliberately skip a meal to lessen fat intake, our fasting doesn't just involved skipping a meal to get better medical results and slimmer waistline.
Fasting is an old habit being done by those who want to seek God. Those who want to deny themselves to follow Christ have a great help in fasting, and those who want to establish a greater desire for God would want to do it and develop the discipline of fasting every now and then.
Here are some reasons why fasting as a discipline is very important.
1. It Allows Us To Deny Ourselves
"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'" (Matthew 16:24)
In fasting, we all deny ourselves of something so hard to deny: food and other things. While I've heard of some who fast from social media, authentic fasting means we will deny ourselves of food – a basic necessity – so that we can seek God.
The Bible warns us about turning our stomach into a god, saying such people are enemies of God:
"For many are walking in such a way that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ. I have told you of them often and tell you again, even weeping. Their destination is destruction, their god is their appetite, their glory is in their shame, their minds are set on earthly things." (Philippians 3:18-19)
Fasting without the intention to seek God isn't fasting. It's merely skipping a meal for some reason.
2. It Strengthens Our Spirit And Weakens The Flesh
It's a known Biblical principle that those who walk in the flesh, fulfilling its desires, won't be strong in the Spirit. Galatians 5:16 tells us,
"I say then, walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."
While the acts of the flesh mentioned after that verse do not include eating pizza or some delicacy, it does include selfishness (verse 20), which can be a reason why people can't stop eating: it simply feels good, and we want more.
When we fast, we train our stomach to submit to God's Spirit.
3. It Shows Our Desire To Seek God
Lastly, fasting is a simple way to show how much we long for God. In Luke 5:34-35, we read the Lord Jesus telling certain people,
"Can you make the attendants of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them. Then in those days they will fast."
Simply put, we who are longing for His return fast and pray for Him to return. Our fasting doesn't benefit Him, but it does show how serious we are towards Him.