A4P Guest: “My husband and I are born against Christians. We are members of one local church in our area. We try our best to get involved in every activity our church may have. For this Easter season, our church has a 21 days fasting program that we, my husband and I, are taking part in. So this past Sunday, after the church service, a topic came up about what to fast and what not to fast from. And some of our church folks said that our fasting should include fasting from sex for our fasting to be biblically right. I asked them to prove it for me from the Bible but nobody knew exactly what verse to tell me but they kept on claiming that it is biblical to fast from sex when we fast from food. I and my husband don’t think we need to fast from sex. What is your take on this issue? I don’t think sex has anything to do with fasting.”
A4P: Thank you for your timely question and thank you for giving me permission to address your question on the page.
Most churches use this Easter season for fasting. I think that is excellent! Fasting is one of the Christian disciplines that is becoming rare and considered as outdated. But fasting has the most spiritual significance in a Christian life as praying and studying the Word of God have. And I appreciate you and your husband for taking part in your church’s fasting program.
Before I answer your question, let me say few things about fasting.
When fasting is concerned, I believe we need to pay attention to three important things:
First, fasting should be done between you and your God; including the decision what to fast and what not to fast from. It is a personal decision, according to your physical ability (health) and spiritual maturity and understanding! (Matthew 6:16-18)
Second, fasting is something that should be done for a reason such as to focus on God, His wills and Words so that our will and desire will align with His. We can’t use fasting to force God to change His mind since God doesn’t change His mind. He is always good for us and He will remain like that forever! We are the ones who need “mind transformation” and change. We also don’t fast to be God’s favorite children or for God to love us more. We are His favorites in Christ Jesus and God can’t love us more than He already have in Christ Jesus! We also don’t fast to go to heaven because we are heading to heaven. Our “life train” is “heaven bound” because we believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Hallelujah!
Third, fasting for it to be spiritually and biblically right and beneficial, it has to be paired up with prayer. We benefit nothing from fasting if we just stay away from food and come back to it when time is up. That is called “dieting” or “GI cleansing time” or as some call it, “giving your GI rest.” I mean that is good for our physical health but no benefit for our spiritual health.
The other thing we need to pay attention to in addition to the above three points is the definition of fasting:
When we read the Bible, most people when they fasted, including Jesus and Daniel, they totally stayed away from food (Matthew 4 & Daniel 10). However I don’t think that is the whole definition of fasting according to the Bible. Fasting can be defined as staying away from all food and sex or staying away from certain things we need, want, desire and love (like sex, TV, etc) for the purpose of “exclusively” focusing on God and the things of God. Example: Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they fasted from the King’s table (Daniel 1) and they ate only vegetables. Fasting can also be a decision one makes to fast from something “for life” for the purpose of seeking God’s will in their or other’s life. Example: Paul fasted from meat to protect the conscience of his Jew converts (1 Corinthians 8:13).
Well, coming back to your specific question, I see that you and your husband are dreading the idea of fasting from sex; but why?
If it is for a season, what’s wrong with the idea of fasting from sex?
Remember, if there is anything in your life you can’t lay it down for the highest spiritual purpose, it can very well be your “god” (idol) whether or not that thing is sex or going to church seven times a week. The whole Bible is the proof of this truth!
Remember: Sex is not a necessity! Only food, clothes and shelter are! If you are gladly saying no to “food,” I believe you should have a spiritual capacity to say no to sex too for a season; or there might be something with your sexual life that may need some evaluation and supervision.
Listen what the Bible says: “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (1 Corinthians 7:5)
Actually the only time the Bible says okay to avoid sex in your marriage is when you two decide to devote yourself to prayer (which very well means fasting and praying).
And here is the perk for avoiding sex for the purpose of devotion:
Sex gets better when you get back to it after a season of fasting from it!
Whoa! It actually heals lots of wounds! It gives you and your husband one of those wonderful “out of this world” sexual experiences you will never forget!
Guess what? Secular and Christian marriage counselors advise married couples to fast from sex for some time and come back to it for the purpose of rekindling the couple’s sex life! Hmm! I wonder where they learn that trick from!
Honestly, if you dread the idea of fasting from sex, I think from all the people who need to fast from sex, you and your husband are the ones who need it the most. Why? Maybe there is something in your marital bed that needs to be brought to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Okay, saying all that, let me give you my two cents worth of advice I give to newly married couples (if you are newly married, listen carefully): Don’t fast from sex early on in your marriage; like within six months to a couple years of your marriage. The man may take you to court!
If you want to fast, get his approval first. Don’t make him feel guilty if he doesn’t agree for a month long of fasting season. Just start with one day fast with his approval, and work your way up! When he sees the spiritual and sexual benefits fasting has, he will gladly look forward to the next fasting season.
Let me say this in closing: The sex in the marriage has to always be evaluated, tamed, supervised and checked; as we always check and supervise the fire in our home, in the stove and home heater. Good, healthy and godly sex is designed to benefit you, not to control you. If you get to the point where you will say to yourself something like, “I can’t live without sex,” well, that is the time for you to take a break from everything, sit and search your heart and soul before God to see if sex is the idol, the god in your marriage. If so, confess and repent and make only God the God of your marital bed. ///