“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.”
Early one morning, in the Fall of 2019, I woke up and checked my messages as I normally do. With eyes still squinting, waiting on my coffee to brew, one email in particular stood out to me:
“Matt, I’ve been serving God since 1979. A good friend of mine who wasn’t a Christian came to stay in my home. I witnessed her being attacked by demons. Me, being a Christian, I told her about Jesus and she became one too. However, the demonic attacks went on for years, even when she moved to her own apartment. Satan has no shame in attacking God’s children, he even continued to lure her into the church’s basement, caressing her, and leaving marks. Years went by and eventually she was only set free through prayer and fasting. God is faithful.”
Now, before I understood the New Covenant, I would’ve simply read this, replied “Amen,” then moved on with my day. However, there’s glaring inconsistencies of what Scripture teaches us based on the covenant Christ brought in at Calvary.
Before I continue with fasting, I want you to know God is paying close attention to you, dear Christian. Not your efforts, not your works, but you. You’re His child and He cares about you so much. If you’re in a habit of fasting and you want to do that, then do that. But please know that God isn’t sitting back with His hands folded until you start or stop any particular thing. He’s a good Father, and good fathers don’t work that way. He loves you and fasting isn’t increasing His love nor causing Him to move.
In Mark 9:29, there’s a passage about Jesus casting out a demon. He said such can only be done by prayer and fasting. However, earlier transcripts have been found since this was originally allowed in the canon of Scripture. Earlier transcripts means more accurate text, and the word fasting isn’t there. What does this mean? Likely a scribe wrote it incorrectly. It’s been removed since this discovery in many versions of the Bible. The same goes for Mark 16:9-20, which includes these two verses:
“And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark 16:17-18)
This block of text is gone now that older transcripts of the original manuscripts have been unearthed. What does this tell us?
The basis of fasting to cast out demons is not biblical and making deadly choices isn’t smart.
Yes, tongues is mentioned in the epistles, which is foreign language speaking; a sign to the unbeliever by hearing the gospel in their native tongue (see 1 Corinthians 14:22). Praying for others to recover from sickness is too (see James 5:14-15). But we must listen to the Spirit’s guidance in all things then look to Scripture to back Him up–not the other way around.
I understand this might hurt the egos of the demon-casters, but such is a good thing! If that’s you, friend, just think about the pressure which has now been taken off you and placed onto Jesus. You don’t have to perform exorcisms any longer. You are free!
If you still don’t believe me, do your own research and I trust you’ll uncover the same. Our job, as Christians, is not to constantly cast out demons but to preach Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 1:23, 2:2). Don’t you think if demon-casting is to be our main objective we would’ve received instructions in at least one epistle? Yet it’s not there–nor is fasting, for that matter.
These letters are void of a single directive about either topic, all were written subsequent to the Cross and maturity of the apostles:
Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation
Not one lesson or edification for us fight demons or to fast. In the four gospels? Yes. But fasting in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John was never a command for believers from Jesus. On the contrary, Christ scolds legalists who wanted to be praised for their fasting (see Matthew 6:16-18). This proves that fasting was a matter of the Law, as those Jews found their “righteousness” in obeying Moses’ commandments not Jesus’.
Christians are not under the Law, but under grace:
“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the Law, but under grace.” (Romans 6:14)
Some disciples of John the Baptist asked why Jesus’ disciples didn’t fast; the answer was because Christ was still with them and their focus was to be on Him and nothing else (see Mark 2:18-20). This was the true meaning of fasting:
Focusing on God alone.
Fasting was never meant to trade off anguish for favor with our Creator. He’s not a vindictive sadist. Whereas fasting can have physical health benefits when done in moderation, spiritually fasting doesn’t accomplish anything. The reality is, God needs nothing from us. He’s God. Even deeper, His ultimate desire is to give us life, breath, and everything else! (See Acts 17:25).
What about fasting the book of Acts? It is mentioned twice (see Acts 13:2, 14:23). What we must keep in mind is that Acts is not a book of doctrine but of recorded acts of the apostles. It’s a history book of the early church–their actions. This is not a letter from an apostle to a church or person for Christian direction. In Acts, they were getting their theology of Christ alone, in order.
Think about it, if we’re going to look to Acts as doctrine then we must circumcise people. Why? Because Paul did this to Timothy (see Acts 16:1-5). He obviously outgrew this immature Law-tradition thinking because Paul was livid with the Galatians for allowing circumcision to sneak into their church (see Galatians 5:2).
Further, if Acts is doctrine to teach and required for church planting, we must all speak a foreign language and have a flame above our heads when we’re saved (see Acts 2:1-8). However, Paul informed the Corinthians, “Not everyone speaks in tongues, do they?” (See 1 Corinthians 12:30).
Do you see it, friend? Acts isn’t doctrine. Sure, we can glean from it, but we have tons of doctrine after this book; after maturity in Christ came to life in the minds, actions, and attitudes of countless Christians. We’re all learning and growing, the early church did too.
Therefore, fasting isn’t doctrine for Christians. If you want to fast, fast. That’s your prerogative and you’re free. But if you’re believing you’ll have a “banner year” because you’re starving yourself, friend, no. God is better to you than that. God doesn’t answer your prayers “better” because you’re hungry. If that were the case then every time we have a need let’s just not eat until our situation changes. Eat. It might give you a healthier viewpoint because your blood sugar isn’t low, therefore impacting your brain.
So today, my friends, know this: Ignore the demons, eat a sandwich, and focus on Jesus. If you’re having a problem with demons, you’ll be surprised at how they go away when you pay them no mind. As for fasting from food, social media, sex, sugar–whatever–God doesn’t change His mind because you’re giving stuff up temporarily. He loves you and doesn’t barter His love by way of you abstaining from what you enjoy. Instead it is God who showed His love for you by giving up His Son! Why? So you can enjoy Him forever! Now that is a good, good Father.
A prayer for you: Heavenly Father, the Bible instructs us to HOLD FAST rather than fast FOOD, according to the New Covenant. Our hope in Jesus is what we’re truly holding fast to! No apostle informs us to fast in order to achieve anything with you, nor to appear more holy than others, nor to entertain demons. Thank you for this freedom in your Word! Right now, I lift up all who are reading this, directly to you. Help them to understand that even before the Cross, fasting was all about focusing on you by giving up food for a time. Food, festivals, and gatherings were Israel’s primary method of fun and entertainment. They were instructed, from time to time, to give this up so they can concentrate on your greatness. But you turned the tables! You revealed what YOU gave up! Actually WHO you gave up–Jesus! Help us to focus on Him, like you have. Amen and amen. We love you.
This devotional is from my upcoming book, The Christian Identity, Volume 3. Check out my other bestselling books here!