The Skinny on Fasting

Posted: January 4, 2011 in Word of Encouragement

Fasting is probably one of those great mysteries that somehow, no matter the amount of research we put into it, will never fully be deciphered. However, God’s word gives us insight into the nuances of fasting, and what it should mean to us as believers. Jesus says it himself in Mark 9:29, that fasting coupled with praying is a tool which can free us from bondages, and allow us greater insight.

One thing I must comment on is that fasting is not just about dieting, and if thats your main mission and goal, you are better off setting yourself a regiment of 2 miles a day and the south beach diet! I write that in jest and seriousness at the same time, our fasting is a tool meant to enhance our relationship with the Lord, and to give us insight and/or freedom that only the Holy Spirit can produce.

It has been my personal experience, through two extended fasts of 40 days with just juice, broth and water, and a Daniel fast of 30 days, that God has not only worked in my life, but with those whom I’ve prayed for and ministered to. I will not go into all of this in great detail, however, from what I’ve gleaned, God has made things known that I would otherwise not notice if my eyes were not “open”. Fasting has us in a place that takes away from the distractions of every day life. Our time isn’t focused on eating, or rather around eating, which ironically is where a good portion of our money goes, but on him and the work he wants to do.

I will be honest, the first 3-5 days were the most difficult, as i was getting accustomed to a new habit and way of thinking. My wife and I found ourselves planning out meals, and thinking of what restaurant we would hit up next even though we had at least 30 days left. Looking back on it, three things were a great discraction besides missing the comfort and nourishment of food. First off, my outlook on fasting needed to change, I saw it primarily as a change in diet, and had no real understanding as a fast being a sacrifice and offering. The second thing I lost sight of was the fact that my prayers are always heard, and even if it takes a year to see the fruit of those prayers, God is at work. The third thing was that my prayer time was not focused and for sometime the fast became just a fast, not an intense focused time with a “mission” in mind. In Acts for instance we see numerous times how fasting and praying were used to either ready themselves for ministry or to hear God’s wisdom on a matter.

At the start of his 3 year ministry, Jesus fasted for 40 days. Many will say that this is one of the most important things Jesus did, allowed him to focus on the will of the Father. I will not leave out the fact that, as a Christian, I have overlooked the importance of fasting in my life, and that as an act of obedience to being a follower of Christ, fasting is something that is important. Fasting from things, or rather abstaining from things of the world is very important. What I failed to realize is that fasting from food is not the same as staying away from things of the world that can become idolotarous. Fasting from food is a whole new ball game in some respects.

Please be encouraged as you embark on this spiritual journey. There are many fasts to choose from, each having a different intensity depending on length and type. The one thing that stays constant is Gods love, and hopefully our hearts which are in a posture towards being molded to better reflect God’s glory.

Be Blessed

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