Fasting to Tear Down Strongholds
Text: 2nd Corinthians 10:1-6
2 Corinthians 10
1Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:
2But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal (not earthly, fleshly, physical and emotional), but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5Casting down imaginations (false teachings, heresies, false religions), and every high thing that exalteth (false spiritual leaders, Pope this, Most High This…) itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
6And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
We are entering into a season of fasting. We know that there is power when we combine our prayer life with fasting. Prayer is a weapon in the Christians battle armor (Ephesians 6:18), but Jesus also said that some things come but by prayer and fasting (Mark 9:28-30)! As we pray and fast we will see Gods hand move in response to those things for which we lay before Him. Prayer changes things, prayer changes us and prayer changes others. God answers prayer! Today we want to share 7 principles of fasting that will equip us in this battle of prayer and fasting. We share these principles praying that God will use them to unleash the power of God in each of our lives to tear down strong holds! Here are the seven principles of fasting and I encourage you to write them down and apply them during this time of fasting!
1. We should fast sensibly
2. We are to fast secretly
3. We are to fast sensitively
4. We are to fast systematically
5. We are to fast sacrificially
6. We are to fast specifically
7. We are to fast supernaturally
In our text the Apostle Paul is telling that in the battles that we face and they are fierce, we do not fight them with the weapons of the world, but we spiritual weapons. Let look at the text for a moment. Notice verses one 1-5.
A stronghold is a fortress. It is something that human intervention alone cannot penetrate or over take. The Greek word for stronghold is okuroma. It can also be translated "fortress." The idea is a structure that has been built to protect something, to keep something captive, or to prevent someone from entering and taking something away. It is an area in my life where I am being "held captive." I am prevented from experiencing freedom in expressing the life of Christ in me, and God's grace and abundance are prevented from affecting that area of my life. A "stronghold" is an area of my life where I consistently have problems and cannot live in victory. I want you to know that we face all kinds of strongholds and these strongholds are often barriers or roadblocks established by the world, the flesh, and the Devil to render us powerless in the service of God. If we are going to gain the victory during this season of fasting and prayer we need to gain the victory over strongholds. Now here are some examples of personal, psychological, and spiritual strongholds that we face, and I am certain that someone here today is facing something in one of these areas. It may be one of these. It may be two or may be several. May God give us victory over them, and I believe He will! Here they are:
BITTERNESS-may manifest in these areas:
If you are dealing with these and you are not seeking God’s deliverance it will stifle your prayer life and it will affect what we are attempting to accomplish during these days of prayer and fasting! Don’t ignore them it is time to deal with them and these are strongholds!
HEAVINESS-may manifest in these areas:
Pleasing people, not God
Lack of trust/worry
Lack of trust
Desire for recognition
IDOLATRY (ISAIAH 44)
Confusion/Living a lie
Pursuing dead ends
Misuse of Scripture
Inability to set goals
Now these strong holds may also manifest themselves in areas of:
Spiritually-assurance of salvation, doctrinal inconsistencies, hearing God speak in times of prayer of reading His word
Evangelism-powerless, intimidation, fear, lukewarmness, close doors, close hearts, failed opportunities
In the area of
Relationships-assurance of Gods leading, knowing God’s will, sensitivity to God’s will, and lack of discipline, discernment, and wisdom
In the area of
Physical health or spiritual health
Now let me give you some practical scriptural guidance!
First remember-Remember what? Remember your conversion! Remember those early times of walking with Lord...
Repent-Turn around, acknowledge that you are off course and turn around!
Return-Get back to doing the first works, go back to that first love! Rekindle that first love affair with the Lord! Go back!
After you have done these 3 R’s remember, repent and return one needs to apply these seven principles during this time of fasting and prayer.
1. We should fast sensibly. Sometimes there is a tendency to fast in a way that is not medically feasible. This is not what is called for in fasting. We should all know our limitations and be shore not to overstep. We should fast sensibly. Sometimes in fasting we lose weight. I usually do, but losing weight is not the reason we are fasting. Now in some cases that might be a good thing to lose a few pounds, but not in every case, and I won’t elaborate! But we are to fast sensibly. Are you fasting sensibly? Stretch yourself, challenge yourself, but please be sensible, have a balance, know your limitations!
2nd Samuel 3:35 And when all the people came to cause David to eat meat while it was yet day, David sware, saying, So do God to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or ought else, till the sun be down.
Acts 10:30 And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing.
2. We should fast secretly. Jesus cautioned his disciples never to boast about our times of fasting but rather to keep our times fasting as personal commitment (Matthew 6:16-18). When we fast we should not be using this to make a show of spiritual superiority. (I believe this can be a real hindrance in effectiveness in times of fasting-what is it, fasting for show or fasting to show spiritual superiority and this one challenges us sometimes). Sometimes on my job it is hard to fast secretly without telling a lie, but I have learned to do it in secret and not lie about what I am doing and God will give you the grace to do the same. For example I usually walk on my lunch break, and on my job they are very nosey so when they ask I just tell them that I may eat something later.
3. We should fast sensitively. When Israel fasted the bible says they inquired of the Lord. In times of fasting we should be listening for the voice of God and it is amazing to me the times when God seems to speak and you truly get a sense that you are hearing directly from Him. During times of fasting and prayer God seems to communicate to me, and I want to listen.
4. We should fast systematically. When Jesus taught His disciples about fasting, He began with the words when you fast (Mat 6:16). He was suggesting that believers should have regular times of fasting whether one day a week or portion of a day each week. Jesus is saying that our fasting should be methodical or systematic. In other words our Lord does not want us to enter into this fasting without thinking it through. He does not want us to fast “wily Nelly” or haphazardly. We should fast purposely, systematically and we should fast deliberately. Have you established a systematic approach to fasting? In the case of me it is a systematic approach that includes my family, but I also have a personal challenge to myself that my family may not necessary be involved in. I do this just to challenge myself and it is between me and the Lord.
5. We should fast sacrificially. If we normally do not eat breakfast it is not really a sacrifice to fast breakfast. A true fast must entail some kind of a sacrifice. What are you willing to give up during this time of fasting that is going to cost you something? The alter of sacrifice is the place where God will meet us during this season of fasting. What are you placing upon the alter of sacrifice? It must cost you something.
6. We should fast specifically. God said to Israel, Is not this the fast that I have chosen (Isaiah 58:6). May God direct us as we focus specifically upon some items of importance as we fast and pray. Our pastor has laid out some specifics and I am not going to preach his sermon, but we need to mindful of these priorities as we fast and pray!
7. We should fast supernaturally. The very nature of fasting requires dependence on God’s supernatural power to see us trough. When the early church fasted before sending out the workers we were taught how the Holy Spirit came and said separate unto me Barnerbus and Saul for the work I have called them unto (Acts 13:2, 3). Here we see the Holy Spirit moving and orchestrating in response to the fasting and praying of Gods people! We need God’s Spirit as we fast. When we fast we too frequently think it is up to us to keep the commitment that we have made to God. Our commitment to sacrifice, to be specific, to be secret, to be sensitive, to be sensible, to be systematic, and to be sensitive are to be done in the Power of God. We cannot do these things in our own strength. We need to pray in the power of God! We need to fast in the power of God and..
• We need to fast sensibly
• To fast secretly
• To fast sensitively
• To fast systematically
• To fast sacrificially
• To fast specifically
• To fast supernaturally, all in the Power of God!
God will give us the enablement. God will give us the victory! God will lead us and guide us through this season of fasting and God will do marvelous and wonderful through us as we commit this season of fasting to Him.
So as we exercise these seven principles during our season of fasting and prayer God will give us the victory to tear down strongholds!