by Kenneth Copeland
Have you ever thought about just how powerful Christmas is? This one day is able to bring people together from all over the world for family gatherings, parties and events. We decorate our houses, neighborhoods and shopping centers. Retail stores start selling Christmas supplies in September so people can begin preparing months ahead of time. People are extraordinarily generous and give to family, loved ones and those in need like no other time of year. Generosity and goodwill to all abound. All this to celebrate one day, the birth of Jesus.
That’s the power of Christmas.
Despite all of the good things happening because of Christmas, you may find yourself feeling powerless during such a powerful time of year. Maybe you’re facing a situation and you don’t know what you should do or what direction you should go. Maybe things just aren’t working out at your job, a relationship is on the rocks, or your health is on the line. Or maybe you feel powerless to help someone else in need.
Whatever it is, you can be sure that God knows your situation, and He’s made available to you the power needed to change it. As a born-again, Spirit-filled believer, you’re meant to be a pipeline of God’s love and power. When that pipeline is open and the power is flowing, you can speak with new tongues, lay hands on the sick and see them recover, preach the gospel to every creature with conviction and power, and cast out devils (Mark 16:15-18); and walk in the spirit (Galatians 5:16).
But, there are times for all of us, especially this time of year, when the day-to-day business of life, the constant demands of our flesh and the busyness of the season seem to get in the way. Somehow our pipeline gets clogged with carnal things, and the rushing stream of God’s power is reduced to a trickle in our lives.
It’s a common problem. Even Jesus’ first disciples ran into it. Jesus had given them power to cast out devils (Luke 10:19), and they had even experienced some of this power (Luke 10:17). But in Mark 9:28, we find them stumped by a particularly tough situation. They had been presented with a boy controlled by a demon. And, for some reason, they found themselves unable to drive that demon out. Later, the disciples asked Jesus why they had failed. “And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting” (verse 29, KJV).
Now fasting, in this instance, would not have changed God or His will concerning the boy. But it would have changed the disciples. Jesus had already directed the disciples to cast the demon out. That demon was undoubtedly stubborn, and when he resisted, the disciples slipped into unbelief. Had they been fasting and praying, they would have been strong in the spirit, and they would have been able to do what Jesus did—cast the demon out! (See John 14:12.)
Obviously, fasting is a valuable spiritual tool. So let’s look into it a little more closely. There are basically two categories of fasting. The first category is a proclaimed fast (Joel 1:14). A proclaimed fast brings you to a place where you can hear from God. The ideal time to go on a proclaimed fast is when you need divine direction.
In 2 Chronicles 20:1-15, the Bible tells what happened to God’s people when they fasted and prayed to seek His direction. There we see the Israelites hemmed in by their enemies and badly in need of divine guidance. Their king, Jehoshaphat, proclaimed a fast that was directed toward seeking The LORD. He wanted to draw his people’s attention toward God. Why? Because God reveals Himself to and rewards people who are seeking Him, whether individually or corporately.
When the congregation was in one accord, the Spirit of The LORD came upon Jahaziel. “And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s” (verse 15, KJV). Imagine how good that sounded to their ears! The Holy Spirit spoke and that was the reward they were seeking!
The second type of fasting is a personal fast (Matthew 6). It also yields very gratifying rewards.
In Matthew 6:16-18, Jesus said, “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”
You can either receive your reward from the admiration of men or you can receive your reward from God. The key is fasting in secret so that God can reward you openly. Being proud of the fact that you’re fasting will destroy everything you are trying to accomplish.
In Isaiah 58, God explains the kind of fast to which He is calling the Body of Christ. That passage will give you a good idea of the kinds of rewards to believe God for when you fast. There The LORD says, “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” (verse 6, KJV).
According to that scripture, you can fast for the deliverance of a friend or loved one—to set them free from oppression of the devil. You can fast for other believers who are under heavy burdens. And you can fast to break the yoke of bondage within your own life.
No matter what you are seeking from The LORD, however, decide before you begin what you wish to obtain through your effort. Find God’s promises that cover your situation and believe you receive before the fast begins. Faith brings the results you desire, and faith is born out of The WORD, not out of fasting.
It is important for you to understand that it’s not the fasting itself that brings deliverance. Jesus has already obtained deliverance through the complete work of Redemption. Fasting simply limits the influence of physical appetites so that you can more effectively hear from and respond to the Spirit. This enhances intercession; and effective, Holy Spirit-led intercession sets the captive free!
Just remember, fasting is not a method of twisting God’s arm to get Him to respond when you pray. Fasting does not change God, it changes you!
The Power of Fasting This Christmas
Fasting brings personal rewards like being able to clearly hear God’s voice so you can receive direction, increasing the anointing on your life, breaking chains that set captives free, and so much more. Nothing can bring you closer to God’s will than living a life of prayer and fasting. As you enjoy the power of the season, don’t forget about the power in you.
Dare to Shine His Light on Power This Christmas!
- At some point during this Christmas season, consider fasting for one of the reasons mentioned in this article. This can be for one meal 24 hours, or several days, depending on your physical condition.
- Study the scriptures referenced about fasting, and educate yourself on the benefits of fasting from a physical, emotional and spiritual perspective. A good resource is Dr. Don Colbert’s book, Fasting Made Easy.
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