What does it look like to live a SUPER-NATURAL lifestyle? I believe Jesus answers that question for us all when he answered Nicodemus in John 3:3.
“I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a person is born again (anew from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born again when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb again and be born again? Jesus answered, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a man is born of water and [even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God.” (Jesus moves into greater detail in verses 6-8) ….vs. 10-“Nicodemus answered by asking, How can all this be possible? Jesus replied, Are your the teacher of Israel, and yet do not know nor understand these things?
This understanding is first introduced to Israel and mentioned in Ezekiel 36:25-27; so Jesus is wondering why a teacher in Israel doesn’t understand that this shouldn’t be a new concept to him
“Then I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness; and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall heed My ordinances and do them.”
Part of our spiritual formation is understanding that we have been defiled by the world we live in and we need constant spiritual cleansing. Israel had mixed with other nations and their way of living and being was defiled by other cultures. That’s why he said-“I’ll cleanse you from your idols.” Most of us don’t even realized we’ve been defiled or have “worshiped other gods” (idolatry) thus we don’t see, know or experience the Kingdom of God because of our sin and rebellion against God. I’ve learned that fasting as a lifestyle keeps my heart cleansed from such rebellion and unrighteousness Fasting reminds me to put my flesh in it’s proper place so it doesn’t rule over me. Once you’ve learned how to rule over earthly things well, God will give you more authority to rule in and over spiritual matters.
I believe that’s why Jesus had a hard time with Nicodemus. He was a “ruler” in Israel teaching others, and he didn’t understand the basics of the Kingdom of God.
Let me say it like this.When you were earthly born and given to your parents, you had to learn everything about living in this world, but it didn’t happen in a day-it took years. So it is with the Spirit. You learn little by little how to live as a supernatural being in a natural world and are progressively trained by the Holy Spirit and those He gives you. That’s why the bible says not to just be conformed to the ways (patterns, customs) of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so you can KNOW, see and experience God’s perfect, acceptable and pleasing will for your life. The kingdom of God has customs, and ways of living and being, and our spiritual formation is key to us living out of the Spirit and not just in the flesh.
We have all been trained in this earthly life to eat food, no brainer, right? We must eat to survive in this earthly body, but it is no different in spiritual matters. We just eat differently and feed our spirit not our flesh. Abstaining from water and food, along with feasting on the Word of God and prayer feeds your spirit and brings it alive. Each type of fast, yields different results but it is one way we understand being born again. In other words, fasting denies your flesh to make you more alive to the spirit and the kingdom of God. The understanding of “being born again” is to be alive to the eternal things of God, and fasting as a lifestyle is one of the ways we “see, know, live and experience and enter the kingdom of God .
For several years I have kick-started the new year off with a fast. The last 2 years it has been a 21 day Daniel fast (Daniel 10:3). If you’re a beginner it may be a good place to start. At other times I have done single day or 3 day fasts. Those fasts were water only and no food at all. Ask the Lord and He will lead you in the fasting of his choice. I’ve learned over the years that fasting positions you in the spirit for more revelation, insight and Holy Spirit empowerment. It changes you!! Your heart changes, your motives change, you desires, passions, appetites and longings change, as you deny yourself and allow God to increase in your life. I am reminded even today that Satan tempted Jesus with food as well as Adam & Eve in the garden; and it was Esau‘s excessive appetite that caused him to give up his birthright. These three examples alone show us how important fasting is in the life of a Christian. Jesus is the only One who overcame temptation and he had just come out of a 40 Day fast in the wilderness.
From this new insight I am asking myself many questions. The foremost question is: what else have you not remained in Dana? Could it be that fasting is the precursor to all forms of “remaining” in the Lord? Jesus said;
“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15:4
So how do we remain in Him unless we fast and pray? When Jesus was questioned as to why his disciples didn’t fast, he said:
“Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.” (Matt. 9:14-15)
Fasting is a picture of our need for Jesus. Jesus was there among them and it wasn’t time to grieve and mourn- but to celebrate. A time was soon coming when he would no longer be with them and then they would mourn for his return. Neither the Pharisees nor John’s disciples recognized Jesus as the Bridegroom-the lover of their souls.
Fasting returns our hearts to longing for the presence of our Bridegroom-Jesus. Fasting and prayer keeps us hunger for Jesus and reminds us that He is our everything.
REMAINING IN CHRIST REQUIRES US TO BE DISCIPLINED
Denying your flesh requires you to employ your will. The more you do God’s will the easier it becomes to deny your own. Denying yourself food and feasting on God’s Word empowers you to live a pleasing life unto God. This world and its lusts may tell you to feast, feast, feast and satisfy yourself, but that is not the principle set forth in God’s Word. Jesus said to his disciples:
“if anyone wants to follow after me, you must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Matt. 16:24
Derek Prince in his book on fasting once said: “I believe the essential nature of fasting is renouncing the natural, to invoke the supernatural.”
WHAT RESULTS CAN YOU EXPECT AS YOU FAST & PRAY:
expect more intimacy with God as you pray his will and not your own (Mark 14:36)
expect Holy Spirit empowerment (Luke 4:14; Galatians 5:16)
expect to be separated unto God’s purposes and divine calling for your life (Acts. 13:4)
expect to do greater works (John 14:12)
expect more opportunities to help others overcome (Hebrews 2:18)
expect to intercede more in prayer for others (Daniel 9:3-5, 20)
expect religious mindsets to change (Isaiah 58:6-7)
expect revelation, insight and direction (Acts. 13:2)
expect your focus to shift (Matthew 6:31-32)
expect to overcome temptation (1 Cor. 10:13, Luke 22:40)
expect your confidence to return to God and his righteousness (Luke 18)
expect your mind to change- not only what but how you think (1 Cor. 2:16)
expect more strength and grace (1 Cor. 12:9)
expect heavenly wisdom, insight, understanding and demonstration of God’s power (1 Corinthians 2:13-16, Daniel 9:22)
expect to receive answers when you pray (Daniel 9:23)
expect your heart attitudes and issues to be exposed so you can repent and change what needs correction (Joel 2:12)
expect empowerment to live in purity and holiness and a consecrated lifestyle (Luke 2:37, Luke 4:2-4)
expect favor with God and others (Daniel 1:19, Daniel 2:6, Daniel 9:23, Esther 4:16)
expect to feel the heart of God more deeply so as to steward prophetic revelation for the future (Daniel 10:2-3)
expect God’s protection (Ezra 8:21-23)
expect rewards from God (Matt. 6:18)
Expect, expect, expect!!