Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come back together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. ~1 Corinthians 7:5
When most hear the word “fasting” they automatically assume it means they have to give up food for a certain period of time. For that reason, many Christians run away from that spiritual curse word. They are not willing to give up their favorite beloved foods for the sake of gaining insight, clarity or a deeper connection to God. That is within their God given right by way of free will. However, don’t go asking God for “STUFF” or “INTERVENTION” when you’re not willing to sacrifice a pleasantry or two for the sake of allowing Him into the center of your life. The gist is, fasting comes in many different forms. For this post, however, I’ll discuss the type of fasting couples can do and explain the reasons why.
Many Christian couples have disagreements and fall outs just like their non-Christian counter parts, however, they have an upper hand in how they can resolve their issues. I’m sure 1 Corinthians 7:5 can be interpreted in a variety of ways, however, when I read it my interpretation is that sex shouldn’t be used as a weapon and withheld within a marital relationship. When wives withhold sex from their husband, they open the door for his eyes to wander, lust to creep in and the possibility of an affair to loom overhead. The only time a couple should abstain from sex is when they, as a couple, decide to present a pressing issue within their marriage, family, circle of friends, etc., to God in prayer instead of spending that time being physically intimate with one another. Even in this mutual agreement, couples are reminded that the sexual fast shouldn’t be for an extended period of time. Even God knows that our flesh is weak. He knows that some men and women lack the self-control necessary to avoid toeing the line before crossing it, and entertaining the idea of having sex outside the confines of the marriage.
Another insight gained, is that God encourages couples to pray together. Not only does praying together bring them closer to God, it also brings them closer together as a couple and strengthens their marital bond. The writer of Ecclesiastes 4:12 reminds us that when a husband and wife come together to overcome something of importance to them, they are stronger as a union than when apart. Furthermore, when a husband and wife come together and present their petitions to God, their strength increases because God is helping them overcome an obstacle meant to cause harm or trip them up. Perhaps if more couples agreed to set aside their physical needs, for a short period of time, in exchange for spiritual ones, fewer marriages would be broken by way of affairs, divorce, neglect or abuse.
While researching fasting, I found 40 scriptures on fasting and praying. Moses fasted and the byproduct was the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:28). Luke (18:12) tells us he fasted “twice a week.” David tells us he fasted, prayed and mourned until he received a response to his inquiry (Psalm 35:13-14). Joel tells us (2:12-13) that God declared we return to Him with all of our heart in fasting, praying and mourning. I can’t help but think God places great importance on fasting and praying in the life of believers. Imagine the possibilities if husbands and wives took God at His word and presented their petitions to Him with expectancy. Imagine the marriages that would be strengthened because God sits at the center of them. Think of the healing that would take place because couples chose spiritual intimacy over physical intimacy until healing occurred. The blueprint for how we should live this life is outlined in the most popular book of all time, the Holy Bible. The question is, how serious are you in having a marriage that can weather any storm?
Imagine the possibilities if husbands and wives took God at His word and presented their petitions to Him with expectancy. Imagine the marriages that would be strengthened because God sits at the center of them.