Overseer of God’s Remnant Assembly Akintayo Emmanuel Looks at 3 Spiritual Benefits of Fasting

Although fasting is generating attention and gaining popularity in the western world, it is an ancient practice that dates back thousands of years and is referred to multiple times throughout the Bible.

According to Akintayo Emmanuel, the Overseer of God’s Remnant Assembly, here are three spiritual benefits of fasting:

1. Fasting Strengthens our Faith in God

Fasting helps people get closer to God, because they are demonstrating an act of self-sacrifice and devotion — and ultimately, deepening their faith. As proclaimed in Ezra 8:21–23: “There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, `The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.’ So, we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.”

Commented Akintayo Emmanuel, who in addition to his work with God’s Remnant Assembly also serves as President of G42-Global Reformers, The Bridge, and GRA Mission Squad: “The divine message here is not that we can insist that God should fulfill our prayers — even noble ones — provided that we fast. Rather, it is fasting that can strengthen our faith in God. And ultimately, it is our faith that will sustain us, and help us accept with love and gratitude whatever God sends us, knowing that it is only and always for our good.”

2. Fasting Demonstrates our Repentance.

Many people consider repentance as an act of sorrow. However, while the incidents and facts that lead one to repent can indeed be painful and reproachful, in a Christian context true repentance, which may include fasting, is viewed as a glorious invitation and opportunity to reconnect with God and find one’s place again in His light and love. As proclaimed in Joel 2:12: “’Even now,’ declares the Lord, `return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’” Akintayo claims that when fasting is done safely and responsibly, it does not just cleanse our bodies of toxins and impurities, it also sanctifies and cleanses our spirit from filthiness.

3. Fasting Reminds us of our Spiritual Life.

In many parts of the world, people don’t eat to live — rather, they live to eat; and not just to satiate their hunger, but to literally stuff themselves to the point of pain or illness. Fasting is a stark reminder that our real purpose in this life is not to exclusively satisfy our physical desires, but rather to nourish and sustain our spiritual life. As proclaimed in Matthew 4:4: “Jesus answered, ‘It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Fasting reminds individuals what really matters, which is a connection and closeness to God.

A Final Word

As noted earlier, fasting has become quite popular, and unfortunately some people are diving into this practice without understanding the proper process and potential risks. This can lead to unwelcome and in some cases dangerous consequences. Ultimately, anyone who is considering fasting should have the spiritual understanding first, and then if necessary, speak with their doctor, nutritionist, or other member of their health care team for further guidance and instruction. They should also ensure that they do not put themselves or others in harm’s way by doing too much, or by going to extremes. Fasting should be done responsibly and safely.

Overseer of God’s Remnant Assembly. Married to Pastor Sarah Emmanuel, founders of GRA Mission Squad.