There are more answers to this question than one devotion could ever afford. The believers fasted in decisions, they fasted in concern, they fasted as they mourned, they fasted as they performed ministry and even more. However in covering fasting in one devotion, there is a general point of fasting.
Joel 2:12 ESV “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
Life, from the perspective of the believer, is the return of God’s people to their God. With that, in all aspects of life, we turn to Him. Fasting is one of the signs of our return to God. It is why all these occasions exist as to why a person fasts. In mourning, decisions, concerns, ministry, requests and even repentance among other reasons, we set our hearts back towards God when we fast.
Paul furthers this idea when he declares that every person is in a flesh vs. spirit battle in their daily lives.
Romans 8:13 ESV For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Fasting is one way we physically choose to deny the very flesh we are at war with. There is a mandate for us to win this battle within with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:16 ESV But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
The lesson here is incredibly important because we often believe the greatest battles are around us or in front of us, but the most important battle before any other is to win the battle within. We are the first enemy we must conquer in life and we cannot defeat this enemy without the help of the Holy Spirit.
In the end, Satan may be the father of lies, but we are the liars. The most cringe-worthy thing I hear from Hollywood these days is “Follow your heart!” The Bible says this:
Jeremiah 17:9 ESV The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Fasting is one of a number of ways that we respond to the Spirit’s work within us to transform our hearts from deceit to truth, from sick to well, from death to life.
Often when we fast, we want God to do something, or we want answers, or maybe we just want God to change the situations we are in. However, in the full reality of fasting, the reminder is not that God will change our situation, but that He will change us.
In the end, the goal of fasting is not that you are hungry. It is the reminder that even in physical hunger, you can be satisfied in Christ. As we fast, we surrender our flesh to the work of the Spirit and we pray that God would make us new.