One of the most important facets of a fast is to remove things that are in the way of your ability to stay conscious of your spirit. Because it is the communion between the human spirit and the Holy Spirit that allows us to hear and receive from God. “His Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:16)
Fasting is comparable to cleaning a cluttered closet. In order to properly clean, everything within the closet must be removed so as to reveal anything hidden or spotted. Everything in a closet is kept there because it holds some measure of value. But if you have ever taken time to clean a space — maybe a closet or a garage — as you went through the contents of that space you realized that certain things — seemingly important when you stored them — actually hold no purpose — fruitful or beneficial value — at all? So it is with certain teaching and doctrines that we hold dear. Without realizing it, we have placed value on certain teachings, maybe because of their popularity or the skill with which they were communicated, that don’t fulfill any purpose other than crowding our spirit with sleights that hinder us from valuing right and fruitful teaching.
Paul said that we should “…be no more children, easily moved by doctrines that blow in like a temporal breeze sent to achieve the crafty purposes of cunning men.” (Ephesians 4:14) There are certain teachings that have been allowed into the church that produce an exuberant response in a service but do not actually produce biblical fruit. Jesus said, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit…I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:2,5) He compares us to a branch which draws life, or power, from the vine. Anyone who has ever gardened before knows that branches have offshoots protruding from them. If any of those offshoots are not beneficial to the branch itself then they are drawing the life from the vine that is being wasted. They must be removed, or “pruned”.
The prophet Jeremiah spoke of useless, unfruitful offshoots of teaching in this way: “For they have healed the hurt of my people only slightly saying, ‘peace, peace’ but there is no peace.” It could be said this way; they temporarily make my people feel better by promising peace, but nothing they say will bring peace. It’s important to remember that just because a teaching has a scripture attached doesn’t mean it is scriptural. But in a fast, we are able to engage with our spirits, and determine what truths from God’s Word need to be dusted off and reapplied, and what teachings are taking up much needed space, and cluttering our hearts.
Personal Prayer Point:
“Father, come and prune every useless teaching and mindset that I have held dear that has produced nothing but an imitation of peace in my life.”
Scripture to Stand On:
(Isaiah 48:18 — Isaiah 26:3)
Corporate Prayer Point:
“Father, anoint this church to receive, with perfect clarity and unity, the Word that you desire to be heard and planted in every service. Every time we gather, let us draw from Your Word like a branch draws life from the vine.”
Scripture to Stand On:
(Mark 4:23 — Proverbs 4:20-21)