(These are the adapted notes of a talk given by my wife, May Lin, on May 20th at a Ladies Event at Baitul Whaid Mosque in Hanworth under the title “Fasting the Way to Spiritual Elevation”)
Thank you for inviting me to speak. Thank you for your welcome. First I would like to define the term “spiritual elevation” and speak about how we can obtain this spiritual elevation from the Bible’s point of view. Then I would speak of how fasting relates to it.
Just like the elevator in a shopping complex that takes one up from the ground floor to the upper floor, spiritual elevation is how one would reach the position to be in relationship with God to know Him personally.
- First we have to know who God is and His character. God is the One who created you and me, the Holy and Just One. The One who holds the universe in His hands – the all powerful One. This God is a holy God that cannot tolerate any sin or wrongdoing.
- Mankind is sinful. We are born with a sinful nature. Those of us who are mothers can testify to that. No mother teaches her children to do wrong or to disobey. From the earliest age of a child, mothers will know that children are inclined to be selfish and do wrong. The word ‘no’ comes before ‘yes’. We all have a selfish nature, wanting things to be done our own way, in our own time and at our own convenience. Even my very best work is polluted by pride. The Bible says in Romans 3:23, ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God’. God who is holy and just in His character must punish Sin. My sin stops me from having a relationship with God. Yet, the God of the Bible is a merciful and loving God. The Bible says in Romans 5:8: ‘But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us’
- Jesus Christ the unique one, who had a miraculous birth was born of a virgin. He was holy, blameless, undefiled – One who is sinless. The Bible says in Luke 19:10, ‘For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost’. The Bible also teaches that a sinless sacrifice was essential for the salvation of men, women, boys and girls. Jesus Christ, my Saviour, went to the cross and there He died, not because of anything He did wrong, but because of my sins and yours. God’s anger was poured out upon Him. This punishment which is rightly ours because of our sins, there at the cross Jesus Christ bore. He is the mediator (the go-between) between God and man.
- How can I be spiritually elevated? How can I have this relationship with a Holy God? I must come confessing my sin, repenting, turning away from my wrongdoings. I must believe that Jesus Christ’s blood shed for me is sufficient for God to accept me. There is forgiveness of my sin through putting my faith in Jesus Christ. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 ‘For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.
Nothing that I do can earn my way to heaven. Jesus Christ my Saviour has done it all. I owe everything to Him. The Bible also says in 1 Peter 3:18 ‘For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.’ So in Jesus Christ we can receive this spiritual elevation knowing God personally. The God of the Bible is not a distant God. We can seek and find Him. See Matt 6:33. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
What about fasting then? How does fasting relate with this spiritual elevation? What Is Fasting?
Fasting specifically is the withdrawal from food for a period of time. It can also more generally refer to withdrawing from other things for a period of time. Fasting helps me to enjoy this spiritual elevation. It is one of the ways I can be devoted to God. The Christian life is about being close to God. Fasting helps me to achieve this and is often associated with prayer.
In my fasting. I am declaring that God is more important than food. It is also to tell God that I am relying on Him and looking to Him as the guide of my life.
Fasting does not bring me into a relationship with God. There is nothing I can do to achieve spiritual elevation. The Lord Jesus Christ had died to have my sins forgiven. When my sins are forgiven, I can be spiritually elevated. He’s my Saviour who has done so much for me. Fasting helps me to enjoy this relationship with God.