Regardless of what you might think, fasting is exhilarating. It enlarges our hearts by helping us encounter the beauty of our Bridegroom.
Through fasting Jesus opens our hearts in a way that no other dimension in the grace of God can. The fast of the Old Testament was mostly for external purposes, but the Bridegroom fast of the New Testament touches the heart.
As we pursue the Lord by the grace of God through fasting, our physical, emotional and spiritual appetites change dramatically. Jesus imparts new desires to us so that fasting is an indescribable privilege that brings us closer to Him. When our desires line up properly, life is wonderful, but when our desires are out of line, life is very hard and disappointing.
Fasting releases supernatural joy when our sights are set on the benefits. The following are some of the main benefits of a fasted lifestyle:
Fasting tenderizes the heart to God. Over time we gain a supernatural ability to feel and experience God, specifically His love, beauty and the glory of His plan for us. Fasting helps us build the foundation of the divine romance.
In Scripture, the fast John the Baptist undertook was for the enlargement of his heart in God. Scripture says clearly that John did no miracles, but fasting made him great before God (see Matt. 11:11).
If you want to be great before the Lord and have a heart tenderized toward Him, try fasting. You will understand what this reward is about.
Fasting illuminates the mind with the spirit of revelation. Since I began fasting, I have had a significant increase of spiritual dreams about Jesus related to the Bridegroom. I have had more dreams in which the Lord is speaking to me about the Word, awakening my heart to specific parts that relate to my ministry.
On the road to Emmaus Jesus opened His disciples' understanding (see Luke 24: 32), and that is what the Bridegroom fast does. It opens your understanding, either through direct study of the Word or through dreams and visions the Lord gives you.
A billion dollars cannot buy you the secrets of God. You cannot manipulate your way into those regions of God's heart, but praying and fasting escort you there.
Fasting enlarges our emotions. As we fast, our emotional chemistry changes radically, not just in the realm of feeling the love of Jesus, but also in having zeal for God's purpose and God's ways. We discover more of His emotions, and He grants us a divine perspective on life.
Sadly, many believers are content to live lives of spiritual boredom. But a fasted lifestyle will open the realm of exploration into the unimaginable complexity and wonder of God's emotions.
Fasting sharpens your decision-making power. In John's Gospel, the people came to make Jesus king by force, but He refused (see 6:15). Jesus was unmoved because He got satisfaction from His internal reality with the Father.
Most believers have no power to discern a promotion that is outside of the will of God. Promotion blinds them with euphoria, and they lose the ability to see that promotion out of the will of God is actually a distraction.
Fasting will give you perspective on promotion. You will make better decisions because they will be based on what's really important.
Fasting strengthens your spiritual identity. Many people flounder for years without a sense of who they really are. Paradoxically, this produces an excessive preoccupation with self, which is natural. It is supernatural not to have a preoccupation with self.
But the Bridegroom fast strengthens our identity. It weakens the hold of jealousy and insecurity in our lives.
John the Baptist didn't need to be known by men because he heard the voice of the Bridegroom (see John 3:29). When you hear the voice of the Bridegroom, it changes what you want and what you fear losing.
Your list gets filled with things you cannot lose, such as the anointing of the Spirit on your heart before God. No man can take that away from you.
Nobody can imprison you and take your spirit of revelation or cause you not to be great in the sight of the Lord. You find a fearless resolve, and you operate in the power of a romanced heart.
Mike Bickle is the author of several books, including After God's Own Heart, published by Charisma House, from which this article is adapted.