Jentezen Franklin: Why Is Fasting So Hard?

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Jentezen Franklin

It is still amazing to me that food was the enticement used to cause Adam and Eve to sin, resulting in the fall of mankind. I find it equally interesting that Jesus began His earthly ministry—to redeem us from sin—by abstaining from food.

I imagine it was an extraordinary sight for John the Baptist to see his own cousin, the Lamb of God, descending into the water to be baptized like everyone else. Most of the folks who were baptized that day probably went home afterward to celebrate with a fine feast, talking about what they had seen and heard. Jesus did not. He followed the leading of the Holy Spirit, beginning His earthly ministry alone, fasting for 40 days and nights while being tempted in the desert (Matt. 3:16–4:11).

JF Fasting

The first thing Jesus felt in His earthly ministry for you and me was hunger. The last thing that He felt on this earth was thirst as the Lord of glory hung dying on a cruel cross, according to John 19:28.

So my question is, why does the body of Christ have such a hard time with the discipline of fasting? Lack of control over the flesh opened the door for sin’s temptation in the Garden of Eden, but Jesus took control over His flesh, sanctifying Himself to break the power of temptation. When Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights, Satan tempted Him to “command that these stones be made bread,” (Matt. 4:3, KJV). The enemy tried repeatedly to cause Jesus to focus on the desire for food rather than on the assignment and the purposes of the Father, but Jesus knew that sanctification is an essential key to opening a door of God’s blessings.

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If Jesus needed to fast, how much greater is our need to fast? I was 17 years old when I went on my first complete 21-day fast. It was one of the most difficult things I had ever done. Fasting is never easy. Honestly, I know of nothing more wearisome than fasting.

Jesus understands the difficulty of depriving ourselves of food. In Hebrews 4:15 we read, “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” He also provides strength for us to overcome temptation in Hebrews 4:16. “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” With these promises in mind, the process became less unpleasant for me.

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You have been deceived if you believe Christians are not supposed to fast. God expects every one of us to fast—not just some of us. In Matthew chapter 6, He names three things that Christians do: “When you pray …” “When you give …” and “When you fast.” He
didn’t say “if” but “when.” If you have a time to pray and a time to give, then you should have a time to fast.

You can always find a reason not to fast, so you have to make up your mind that you are going to do it, and everything else will take care of itself. If you will determine to set apart the first days of the year to fast, you will set the course for the entire coming year, and God will add blessings to your life all year long. Just as you set the course of your day by meeting with God in the first hours, the same is true of dedicating the first days of the year to fasting.

To learn more about the spiritual impact fasting has on your life, click here!

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