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Friday, February 4, 2011

The Power of Fasting--A Letter From Dave Roberson

February 2011

Dear Friend,

One of the most powerful and possibly most misunderstood keys to the power of God is fasting. In order to understand why fasting is so powerful, we must also understand why the flesh is so powerful.

When the term flesh is used in the Word of God, it is most often defined as "carnal desires" or as that particular side to a person's nature that wants to give in to the temptations of the devil. It is this definition of the flesh that Romans 6:12 warns against: Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

As believers, we understand the position our spirits hold in Christ Jesus. We understand that we are the righteousness of God in Christ; that we are seated in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus; and that we are complete in Him (Second Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 2:6; Colossians 2:10). However, we have failed to understand the position our fleshly bodies hold.

You see, the redemption plan that God is working in our lives will eventually result in our total restoration and is being executed in two parts. First, upon receiving Jesus, our human spirit was born again. We received everlasting life and were seated in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus with respect to our rights and authority.

Second is the redemption of our bodies. One of these days, you and I are going to hear the sound of a trump. And when we do, these bodies of ours will be changed from corruptible to incorruptible, as the Word says, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye."

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
1 Corinthians 15:51-53

It is in phase two that our bodies will be restored. The problem is, you and I are still wearing bodies given to us by the first man Adam. However, while we are waiting on our new resurrected bodies, a certain positional truth has been conferred on the old bodies we are wearing now. When we enforce this positional truth, we break the hold that our flesh has over our lives and our spirits.
If you and I are ever going to understand why fasting is such a powerful tool, we must first understand the purpose that fasting serves as far as our flesh is concerned. Romans 8:10 says: And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

Notice the position of "life" declared for our spirit man! We live in God's life because of our righteousness--our rightstanding in Christ. It doesn't say we're "alive." After all, people in hell are alive! It said "life," meaning our spirits have entered into the God-kind of "zoe" and are forever seated in Heavenly places with the Christ Jesus kind of life!

But in the same verse, notice the other position our bodies hold: DEAD BECAUSE OF SIN. In order to break Satan's hold over our flesh positionally, God has declared it dead until we receive our new resurrected bodies at the sound of the trump.
The more we use the weapons of God to execute these two positions that our flesh and spirits hold in redemption, the more powerful and full of faith we are going to be. Of course, praying in the Holy Spirit builds us up in the spirit man, executing and enforcing the position of life that our spirits have received and in which they have been declared.

But what does fasting do? Fasting reinforces the position that the Bible declares over our flesh--that it is dead. Fasting actually breaks the hold the devil has over our faith by helping to put to death those things he uses to control our lives, such things as fears and torments, not to mention the temptations of sin.

To help you understand this truth, consider this: If a person were to fast six months on nothing but water, his flesh would never bother him again. It COULDN'T bother him, for his body would be dead and his spirit would be in Heaven!
Of course, we are not going to embark on that kind of drastic fast. Yet when a man fasts for even three days at a time, that fast has the same kind of effect. It executes the death of his flesh--a step at a time in small portions--until the hold of the flesh over his spirit is broken and his faith automatically begins to come up higher.

You see, fasting deals with the worst kind of unbelief. I'm talking about the subtle kind that keeps us from doing more for God by putting an invisible ceiling on our lives from which we don't know how to break away.

Do you remember what Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 17:19,20, when they asked Him why they couldn't cast the devil out of the lunatic boy?
Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
And Jesus said unto them, BECAUSE OF YOUR UNBELIEF . . . .

You see, the unbelief that Jesus was talking about here was not the malicious Pharisee kind of unbelief that causes one religion to fight another. It was the kind of unbelief that keeps people from doing more for the Kingdom of God--that subtle kind of unbelief a person doesn't even know he has until he tries to do something more for God and falls short. Why else would the disciples have asked Jesus why they couldn't cast out that devil? Certainly they wouldn't have asked if they already knew the reason they failed to exorcise it!

But, thank God, Jesus wouldn't give His disciples the reason they were not able to cast out the devil without also going on to tell us what we can do about that particular kind of unbelief: Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by PRAYER and FASTING (v. 21).

So if unbelief was the primary cause that kept that devil from coming out of the boy, we can then conclude that fasting has nothing to do with God but has EVERYTHING to do with eliminating that subtle kind of unbelief in us.

Fasting has a way of putting to death those things that act as barriers and keep us from receiving from God. It has a way of dealing with the real problem--with our inability to experience victory in certain areas of our lives because of the unbelief imposed on us by our flesh.

Have you ever seen someone up against a situation that only seemed to get more and more hopeless? Perhaps that person seemed to be believing God with everything in him; yet circumstances just continued to get worse until finally the person looked at you with tear-filled eyes and said, "I just can't understand it. I don't know why I cannot receive."

Feelings of helplessness and despair can replace a person's most noble efforts of faith as he tries to change things in the natural. But, thank God, fasting has a way of putting to death those kinds of negative feelings!

For instance, feelings of helplessness and despair can literally encompass a person who has to stand by and watch as a loved one dies from a disease or watch all his capital go down the drain as the economy gets worse and worse. Many times a person in this condition won't say anything to others. But way down on the inside, he wonders, Why, God? I really thought I was believing You for this situation, but I lost out. It didn't happen.

What I am talking about here is the same thing Jesus was talking about in Matthew 17: the kind of unbelief that is so subtle, we don't even know we have it until we are challenged. And because we don't know we have it, we are amazed and even dumbfounded when we apply all the "formulas of faith" and still can't get anything to happen! When we see a person standing on God's promises and confessing the Word and nothing seems to change in his life, we tell that person, "Keep on standing," but the truth is, we really don't know what to do or what to say.

The devil tries to program us with fear, worry, torment, and unbelief, using the flesh as a tool. (When I say flesh here, I'm talking about the part of us that can be tempted to sin and give up.) The flesh and the devil then wear on us and wear on us, until finally, the devil's psychological program begins to control our actions and we begin to plan our lives as though God was not really involved. This program will act as a subconscious barrier against faith as it literally exalts itself against the knowledge of God.

Suppose this demonic program is in place when a crisis arises in our lives or when a minister preaches an exceptional message on faith that inspires us. We might try to pit ourselves against the problem, or we might try to do more for God. But we will find out that a short burst of inspiration is not enough to contend with years and years of negative programming.

Once again, this is where fasting comes in, for it has a way of putting to death the negative programming that has held us in bondage to discouragement and defeat!

For a long time in my own life, I knew that fasting worked, but I didn't know how or why it worked. Back then I thought it was the personal sacrifice that pleased God, and I wanted to please Him so much that I would fast over the Thanksgiving holiday because it meant I was giving up more! Even though I didn't fully understand why it was good to fast, it was marvelous to experience victories and to watch the power of God suddenly turn a supposedly impossible situation into victory.

When you fast, you literally cut off the flesh at the source or at the fountain of its supply, for food is the most basic appetite of the flesh. And when you cut off the flesh at the source, something marvelous takes place. Your spirit is finally able to rise above the ceiling of the flesh, and that's where old prayers start being answered! It isn't that you have fasted enough to move God; He isn't the One who is stuck. Rather, you have enforced the position that God has declared over your flesh: It is DEAD, and it no longer has a hold on you!

At the beginning of this year, the Lord emphasized to us not to let things slip. It does not surprise me that the key of fasting is among those things He wants us to look at again, to pick back up and continue. The kind of revival He has called us to--the kind we see in the Gospels and the book of Acts--will be a revival fueled by our Father's pure and endless love. Believe me when I say that our fasting now will play a vital role then.

I hope this teaching encourages you to take a fresh look at fasting. As you seek the Lord and search the Word, you will find that He will lead you into a fast that, along with prayer and times of worship, takes you into a stronger, closer walk with Him--where you not only fellowship in His love for you, but where you will see people set free, healed, and saved.
Your co-laborer,

Dave Roberson

The Family Prayer Center
Present-Day Speaking

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