Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me (Matthew 16:24, KJV).
While fasting plays an important role in the life of the believer, it in of itself does not make one spiritual. It does carry with it some trappings to consider, which is why a true fast really begins with the principle that Jesus gave us in Matthew 16:24. Our spirituality starts with denying the self, picking up our cross, and following Him. To begin with, it is one thing to do a good thing, while it is quite another to do the right thing. While fasting is a good thing, it can become a religious exercise generated by the self instead of the Lord. It can lead to self-righteousness. For some strange reason, fasting has become a point of pride for some people, especially if they forget a principle that Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:16-18,
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly (KJV).
Ironically, one of the purposes of the fast is to humble ourselves before the Lord. Though outwardly one may not appear to be fasting, inwardly he may feel superior to another because of it. Being spiritual does not make one better than another, it allows Jesus to live big in us.
Another trap is the belief that prayer is only affective with fasting. Affective prayer is the result of lining up with the will of God. What if a person is incorporating a fast with his prayer, and it is not the will of the Father for him to fast at that particular time? Even when we are called to fast, once we end the fast we should be wary of thinking that our prayers won’t be as affective as when we were fasting.
One of the ways we can know if we are being spiritual when we fast is by comparing ourselves with Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law (KJV). All we have to do is ask ourselves, “Am I walking in the fruit of the Spirit?” If we are fasting, yet acing carnal, we are not being spiritual. It is that simple.