Rabbi Schneider - Why You Should Try Fasting?
Food is important to everybody. Not only do we need it to stay healthy, but we enjoy it. I mean, it's one of the pleasures that's built into humanity, the ability to taste food, and we all have our favorites. I love chocolate and certain types of meat. I know you have your favorites, but you know, sometimes it's better to abstain from food for a certain period of time. I've made this delicious meal, but for the purpose of this video, I'm going to hand this to Dustin. And we're going to talk about the benefits of fasting.
Some people fast for health benefits, and there's tremendous benefits to fasting simply for health purposes. To give our system a break from having to digest for bodily improvement. But the other reason that many people have fasted, going back thousands of years, is for spiritual reasons. So whether it's for health reasons or spiritual reasons, making the sacrifice to fast has great benefits. Why should we fast for spiritual reasons and what should we expect? First of all, to get the negative out of the way, of course fasting is a discipline and it's hard. I mean, I can't tell you how many times, years ago I tried fasting and failed.
And I had a friend that had a cabin in the mountains of Kentucky. And I wanted to go someplace in the woods just to fast for spiritual purposes. In less than 24 hours, I got in my vehicle, drove into town and went to McDonald's. I mean, fasting is a great romantic thing that we think we want to do, but when it gets down to actually doing it, there's a lot of discipline involved. Eventually I did go on a fast for 40 days where I started just missing one meal a day, then two meals a day, by the end of the fast I was on only water. And I was eventually able to do that, but I recommend starting out, blocking out. If it's a meal a day, if it's a day, whether it's three days, seven days, whatever day it is, make a commitment that you can succeed at. What can we expect will be the benefit for disciplining ourselves for this purpose?
Number one, fasting prepares us for the work and purposes that God has for us. If you think about Jesus before he began his ministry to the world, right? Jesus is the most famous person that's ever been born in the planet. And when you look at him before he began his ministry that caused his fame to spread across the globe, what did he do first? He went into the wilderness in Matthew chapter four, where he fasted for 40 days. If you want to see God do more with your life, I encourage you to implement fasting.
The second thing the Lord does for us as we fast is he gives us wisdom. If you're facing a situation in life where you don't know what to do, I mean, you have a big major decision that needs to be made. If you will put aside time to fast looking to God for wisdom. And when we truly set ourselves apart to him and fast for wisdom, you can expect that God is going to hear you, he's going to be moved by you, and he's going to respond.
The third reason we can fast is for deliverance or protection. So for example, when the Israelites were going from Babylon to Jerusalem, in the book of Ezra, we read that they fasted before the journey that the Lord would give them protection and deliverance along that almost thousand mile trek, it was about 900 miles, and God was faithful. So if you're going through a time in your life and you need deliverance, you need protection.
I'm encouraging you to fast. It will empower you. Maybe there's an addiction you have in your life. Maybe you're addicted to food. Maybe you're addicted to alcohol. Maybe you're addicted to sex. Maybe you're addicted to buying. Some may even be addicted to gambling or pornography. The list goes on and on. Even if it's just a day, take a day, abstain from food and just sit before the Lord and say, "Lord strengthen me". Because when you fast, what you do is you wean yourself off of relying on material things for your strength, because you'll be putting yourself voluntarily in a position of weakness. And the Lord says, "when you are weak, I am strong. And my power sayeth the Lord, will be perfected in your weakness".
Let me grab that phone. I would recommend fasting right now. When we are separating ourselves from food, the internet, shopping, being busy, all those things. What happens is we voluntarily put ourselves in a position of weakness. Instead we have no place to go but God. We can't run to the refrig... When we separate ourself from relying on the things of the flesh, whether it be food, the internet, TV, shopping, anything. When we separate ourselves from those things voluntarily, we are then fasting from those things. And when we instead of relying on those things, put our gaze upon the Lord and begin to pray to him, "Father God, Yeshua, Jesus, I need strength. I need you to strengthen me that I could be delivered from this thing". His power is perfected in our weakness.
And then I want to talk about something that's very intimate to me. I want to talk about fasting for peace. Years ago, I made it a key focal point of my prayer life to ask for peace. I just said, "Father God, give me peace. I need more peace. Give me more peace in my life." And I prayed this for a year and then one night an amazing encounter with the Lord through his spirit. I was sleeping in a dream state and the Lord visited me. And I found myself in this really lush, secluded secret forest. And while there, this imagery in the dream, the spirit of the Lord began to roll over me in great billows of peace. And I see in the center of the forest, there's a simple wooden picnic table. And in this state, I feel the Lord drawing me closer to the picnic table in the center of the secret forest.
Suddenly in this vision of the night, a piece of pizza appeared in front of my nose about this far in front of my nose. My brain is divided because on the one hand I'd been praying for peace for a year. And suddenly I find myself being bathed in God's peace. I want the peace on the one hand, but on the other hand, I want the pizza. So which way do I go? Do I yield to the spirit and move into the center of the forest to the picnic table for the peace? Or do I have some of that pizza and satisfy this craving that suddenly came in to me? Well, maybe I can have a piece of pizza and then go deeper into the forest. And as soon as I yielded to that thought, the dream ended. And I sensed my friend, that the Lord was telling me, if you fast, cause what I needed to do was I needed to fast from that pizza. So I could go, I needed to fast that fleshly appetite say no to it so I could yield to God's spirit to lead me deeper into himself, into his peace.
So as I sat on the couch the next morning and said, Lord, what happened? What was that all about? Why did that happen in my dream? I felt the Lord was giving me understanding and he was saying to me, I intuitively sensed him saying to me, if you fast, I'm going to draw you deeper into my presence and you're going to experience and feel more of my peace.
So I hope this short teaching helps you today. I want to just stress today as we close. Fasting isn't just about food. It can include food, but it's about all the other things that I brought up as well. This is Rabbi Schneider saying, I love you. And until next time, may God bless you and shalom.