“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)

What kind of crisis are you facing? What kind of crisis are the people around you facing?

I believe one reason God permits trials, afflictions and difficulties in the lives of people, even (or especially) believers, is so that we may all have a chance to realize our great need for God. After all, we were all born into a race of people who have chosen to tell God in one way or another that we would rather live our lives independently of His rule. Every time we disobey God’s Word, we are at least temporarily siding with the devil and with all the rebels against God under the sun who have demonstrated in thought, word and deed that they do not wish Almighty God to direct their lives and affairs.

So God at times lets us see how it works out when we or others disobey Him. It can get pretty bad.

Even if we have been walking faithfully with God, the sins of others against us and our world can make us realize how much we still need the Lord’s saving help and intervention. Maybe you have family members that are away from God. Maybe you have children that are on drugs, or have become sexually immoral. Maybe you have a husband who is treating you badly. You need God. Desperate seeking of God through fasting makes a difference where nothing else will.

Fasting to Overcome Satan and Demonic Oppression

On top of that, we have all of Satan’s minions in the spiritual world – the demons – who seek every opportunity to oppress, harass and vex us.

The devil got into humanity through tempting Adam and Eve to eat more than they should (in this case, the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil). Since that time the devil has used humanities physical appetites – including the appetite for food – to destroy us.

Many faithful servants of God have learned that fasting can loose the bonds of wickedness (Isaiah 58). While at first fasting may sometimes seem to make things worse, it is only because fasting can bring the dragon out of its lair, so that you can defeat it in spiritual combat. This is exactly what Jesus did after his baptism, when he fasted and then overcame Satan’s temptations in the wilderness. Jesus overcame Satan through fasting and the Word of God, and we need to learn to do the same.

Speaking the Word will always help, but sometimes it needs to be combined with fasting in order to have maximum effect. In Matthew 17:21, Jesus taught us that some kinds of demons only come out when people pray AND FAST. (It is no coincidence that many modern translations completely leave out this verse. Like Mark 16:17-18 it is one of the parts of the Bible the devil worked hard to remove).

We Need God – Desperately 

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

We also eventually discover that in ourselves we don’t have what it takes to be who we are meant to be, do what we are meant to do, or even to maintain a positive mental attitude.

So we need God.

Blessed is the person who realises how much he or she needs God.

King David was one such man. He wrote:

 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and [appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they continually say to me,
“Where is your God?” (Psalm 42:1-3)

David wrote this when he was in trouble. David says, “My tears have been my food day and night”. When your tears are your food, it means you are not eating regular food. You are fasting. This was David talking about his thirst for God. One way extreme hunger and thirst for God is expressed is through fasting – which means going without food for spiritual purposes. Biblical fasting is not merely going off social media or TV for a season, as helpful as that may be. Fasting means more than loving this present world  and its attractions a little less. You can’t fast without at least giving up something pleasant to eat (see Daniel’s fast). Actually, fasting is God’s ordained means to starve the flesh and kill the love of the world, and sin, while we look to God for help, guidance and intervention. Generally nothing is more potent than a total fast where you drink only water. When this is not practical or possible, we can still fast by eating only vegetables or by drinking as little clear juices as we need to keep going. 

Spiritual Hunger

Hunger happens when we want something so badly we keep getting reminded about it in a way we can feel. Spiritual hunger – a hunger for God’s presence and Word – can lead us to desire God in prayer and the Word to such an extent that we do not wish to eat even regular food for a season. You and I can get to a point where we want God more than we want food.

The greatest blessings in my life have come in response to a hunger in my heart for God. There are different aspects to God that we can hunger for. We can hunger for truth. We can hunger for love. We can hunger for the power and glory of God to be in operation in and through our lives. We can hunger for revelation of God, of Jesus and of God’s will. It is good to hunger after these things. God promises to fill this hunger with Himself.

God doesn’t give Himself out cheaply. God says to “Seek the Lord UNTIL He comes and rains righteousness on you.” (Hosea 10:12). He says, “You will seek Me and you will find Me when you seek Me with ALL your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). You and I can’t get the deep things of God through casual interest. There must be that deep hunger, that desire, that thirst before God will reveal His goodness and His holiness, and His power. This can normally only be expressed through some form of fasting. Fasting is costly to our flesh. It is unpleasant to our flesh – even while being good for our physical health! Fasting expresses to God just how much we want Him.

The Bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart. David used to worship God out in the fields even before anyone outside his family knew his name. But God saw David – and because of his love for God, God chose him to be king.

Job was the most righteous man of his day. He said, “I have treasure the words of your lips more than my necessary food” (Job 23:12). When we give God’s Word such a priority in our hearts, God will not leave us in despair forever. He will definitely answer us.

God will choose today people who are genuinely hungry for Him. If you are such a person, God has His eye on you.

For more information see Fasting, Key to Power.