What Fasting Reveals About Your Spiritual Condition

The spiritual practice of fasting has been a part of human history for millennia. Nearly every major religion incorporates some form of fasting ritual. When we consciously abstain from food and drink for spiritual purposes, it creates space for self-reflection, repentance, and realignment with divine priorities.

But what exactly does fasting reveal about our inner spiritual state? This introspective journey can uncover strengths as well as areas for growth.

Defining Spiritual Fasting

Spiritual fasting differs from other types of fasting in both purpose and practice. Unlike intermittent fasting for health, spiritual fasting focuses less on the physical body and more on the condition of the soul.

True biblical fasting is defined as voluntarily abstaining from something for a spiritual purpose (Isaiah 58:5-7). Most commonly this involves refraining from food, though other pleasurable things can also be fasted from to purify one’s focus.

Motives Behind Spiritual Fasting

Some common motivations for spiritual fasting include:

  • Seeking guidance for a decision
  • Repenting from sin
  • Petitioning God for a special need
  • Worshipping and developing intimacy with God
  • Breaking bondages to sinful cravings

The heart attitude is key. Fasting without the right motive can become legalistic and hollow (Isaiah 58:3-4). Done properly, fasting prepares the soil of the heart to receive spiritual nourishment.

Misconceptions About Spiritual Fasting

Some common misconceptions about fasting can sabotage the spiritual benefits:

  • It’s merely an external ritual for penance
  • It earns us special favor from God
  • It’s a way to twist God’s arm to get what we want

But Scripture clarifies that authentic fasting must come from a transformed heart – not legalism (Joel 2:12-13). It’s a voluntary response to grace – not working for approval. And our petitions must align with God’s will – not selfish ambitions.

Inner Realizations Revealed Through Fasting

Intentionally denying the body of food and distractions creates space for vital realizations about our spiritual condition. Here are some common revelations:

True Heart Motives

Fasting has a way of revealing ulterior motives and idols of the heart. When we remove the noise and daily nourishment of food, the reality of our spiritual poverty becomes clearer. Fasting exposes areas where we’ve settled for counterfeit affections.

It also awakens us to motives like pride and hypocrisy, which God resists (Isaiah 58:5). Experiencing hunger pangs, mood swings, and mental fog brings these toxic roots to the surface to be confessed and uprooted.

Misplaced Priorities

In our culture of excess, fasting is countercultural. When we fast, the time and attention typically focused on food gets refocused on prayer and spiritual nourishment.

Suddenly we realize just how much mental energy gets devoted to meal prep, grocery lists, recipes, and food indulgence every day. Fasting brings into alignment what our true priorities should be.

Power of Sinful Cravings

Fasting also reveals the surprising strength sinful appetites and habits have over us. Things like sugar addiction, emotional eating, gluttony, and sloth intensify when fasting.

This unmasking of the flesh’s power humbles and motivates us to keep sinful nature in check. Breaking the chains of cravings through fasting leads to greater freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1).

Attachments to Comfort

Fasting also surfaces misplaced attachments we have toward our regular comforts and conveniences. How much do we rely on food, screens, social media, shopping, hobbies for inner stability?

When these pacifiers get removed, the gaping voids left behind tell us much about where our trust and security truly lies. Fasting forces us to find our comfort and joy in God alone.

Heightened Sensitivity to the Spiritual Realm

Fasting also awakens our spiritual senses and prayer life in surprising ways. Here are some common spiritual benefits:

Clarity in Hearing God’s Voice

Quieting ourselves through fasting seems to fine tune our ability to detect the subtle voice of the Spirit. Many fasting saints report increased lucidity and decisiveness when it comes to perceiving the still, small voice of God.

Removing excess noise and distraction empowers their clarity in discerning divine guidance through illuminating Scripture, prayer impressions, divinely arranged circumstances, and promptings.

Increased Spiritual Warfare

While fasting ushers in spiritual blessings, the enemy hates it. Temptation seems amplified. Distractions mount. Doubts swarm our meditations.

But don’t be discouraged; God permits these skirmishes to strengthen our faith muscles. Resisting the devil through fasting builds spiritual authority to advance God’s Kingdom (Matthew 6:16-18).

More Powerful Prayers

As we deny natural cravings through fasting, intensity in prayer often increases. Fervent prayers seem to take on new potency during extended fasts. As physical hunger grows, so does spiritual hunger.

Many longtime fasters report breakthroughs in stubborn areas after fasting accentuated their cries for God to deliver, heal, intervene. Fasting precipitates miracle breakthroughs that change destinies.

Increased Heavenly Encounters

Some faith traditions believe fasting releases spiritual gifts like visions, angelic visitations, and out-of-body experiences. While Scripture doesn’t guarantee such mystical events, it does portray fasting as a precursor for encountering divine presence more tangibly (Exodus 34:28-29). By God’s grace, fasting prepares us for heightened spiritual experiences.

Fasting Exposes Spiritual Strongholds

Fasting allows no pretenses. Like surgery exposing disease, fasting reveals areas of darkness in dire need of God’s cleansing light. Pride, unbelief, bitterness, impurities, and idolatry get confronted.

The beauty of going hungry is reawakening our hunger for righteousness. Fasting restores proper appetite for the Bread of Life (John 6:35). It rekindles first love and reorders affections around the Living Water we all desperately need (John 4:14).

This unmasked reality of our sinful tendencies leads to deepened dependence on grace. Fasting serves as a catalyst for genuine soul transformation when we invite God’s spirit to empower our moral liberation and spiritual rebirth.