Satan's Lie About Fasting

By Drake Mariani, Founder, MemLok Bible Memory System

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Satan's Lie About Fasting

Fasting is the act of going without food for a certain amount of time. What is it and why do we do it?

First of all, let’s define fasting. Here is a generally accepted definition of fasting among Christians over the centuries. "Fasting is a temporary renunciation of something that is in itself good, like food, in order to intensify our expression of a need for something greater; namely, God and his work in our lives."

Now defined like that, fasting is not explicitly commanded in the Bible for Christians. But even though there is no command to fast in the New Testament, nevertheless there are indications that it was normal and that Jesus expected it would happen among his followers.

For example, in Matthew 6:16–18, Jesus says, “When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

So several things stand out in that passage. One is that Jesus says, “When you fast,” not “If you fast.” That is what I mean when I say it seems that He expects that His followers will be fasting. But even more clear in this passage is that Jesus insisted that our fasting not be for the sake of impressing other people.

In fact, we should go out of our way, he says, as much as possible — washing our face, combing our hair — to keep other people from knowing that we are fasting. And that gives fasting for Christians a radically Godward focus.

And in that sense fasting is a great test and confirmation that God is real to us, since in many situations God is the only person who knows you’re fasting. And the practice of fasting can’t impress anybody, and all it can do is test whether you and God are really in a relationship.

Satan's Lie: "There's no value in fasting. It's a waste of time!"

God's Reply: "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?" Isaiah 58:6 (NIV)

Today's motivation: "Fasting is not a replacement for faith in Jesus. It is a servant of faith in Jesus. Fasting is a way of saying with our stomach and our whole body how much we need and want and trust in Jesus." - John Piper

About Satan's Lies, God's Replies

Over 12 million people have completed MemLok reading plans on YouVersion (

"Satan's Lies, God's Replies" is a 48 part Bible meditation reading plan. It is simple, short, and organized to help deal with statements the devil might throw a Christian's way. It is followed by one of God's replies from scripture.

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Credit: Some of the contents of this article were provided courtesy of John Piper