Fasting confirms our utter dependence upon God by finding in Him a source of sustenance beyond food. [Dallas Willard].
The purpose of fasting is to loosen to some degree the ties which bind us to the world of material things and our surroundings as a whole, in order that we may concentrate all our spiritual powers upon the unseen and eternal things. [Ole Kristian O. Hallesby].
Do you have a hunger for God? If we don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation of the glory of God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great. If we are full of what the world offers, then perhaps a fast might express, or even increase, our soul’s appetite for God. Between the dangers of self-denial and self-indulgence is the path of pleasant pain called fasting. [John Piper].
Because I had never fasted before I decided to make a realistic commitment. I fasted all food after 6pm. I did this because I eat most of my food in the evenings after work, and I compulsively snack into the night. I often do not like that I do this and wish I could get a handle on it. It made sense to deny myself my snack cravings in this way. I also fasted social media. The first week I cut myself off of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) after 8pm; the second week at 12pm; the third and final week was none all together.
Fasting isn’t just about denying yourself food or other things. It’s about having ideas, questions, areas in your life that you are going to seek God’s counsel for. I had four areas I was and will continue to focus on.
What I learned…
DOF (desires of the flesh)
I can be disciplined to not eat all evening long and before I go to bed. That is fantastic because I have the metabolism of a brick. I am to die to urges (desires of the flesh) and cravings (desires of the flesh). I often eat out of boredom. Time spent eating [when I’m not hungry] could and was spent taking care of other things. Cleaning and organizing my apartment, reading kingdom-minded books, reading the bible, praying, talking to God, listening to God, and getting to bed earlier. Which it was. I even became better at turning off the tv and limiting the amount I was watching, even though I was not fasting tv.
There’s a life outside of the social media and the dof to check your accounts 30 times in 30 minutes. You’ll be fine if notifications go unchecked.
The word of God can be easy to read. It takes a few tries like my experience in algebra, geometry and statistics (F, F, F). Your brain may not mature enough to tackle the task however after a few tries you’re brain will pick up speed. Last year during this time, my church produced a reading guide and I attempted to read the “overdrive” side of the sheet. I lost momentum and I got behind. I was challenged by the heavy reading of Acts, Romans, and so on. This time around, I completed the reading guide. I only missed a couple of days but it was easy to get back on track. I also picked the easier side of the two.
Jesus was HUMAN and, a bit of a smarty pants
John 8 is all about how people just didn’t get him. The Pharisees told Jesus his testimony was not valid, that he needed another person to verify who he was. When Jesus told them “where I go, you cannot come” the Pharisees were like where’s he’s going? what does that mean? you can’t come? is he gona kill himself? They just didn’t get it. Jesus said the truth will set you free and the people were like we are free, we’ve never been slaves. They said our Father is God. Jesus said God is not your father because if he was you’d love me but instead you want to kill me. They said he was demon possessed. They said “who do you think you are?” In John 9 when Jesus healed a blind man, the Pharisees “investigated.” They asked the former blind man, how he received his sight. After he told them they didn’t believe he was ever really blind. They even got the man’s parents to come and testify that he was born blind! They labeled Jesus a sinner because he healed (worked) on the Sabbath. They questioned the former blind man again and when he didn’t say what they wanted, they insulted him and threw him out! In John 10, Jesus uses a metaphor about a Shepard (Jesus) and sheep (us). The Pharisees didn’t get it. Jesus was like okay I am the Shepard and you are the sheep in this scenario. *blink*blink* In John 11, Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” When Jesus saw Mary and the other people weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; then he wept! When Mary brought Jesus to where Lazarus’ body was, Jesus was once more deeply moved when he approached the tomb. He was deeply moved and cried. Why did he cry knowing he would be able to raise up Lazarus and everything would be fine? He cried because in his human body he felt the sadness and loss. He empathized with the sisters and felt the gravity of the situation.
So many people just didn’t get him. He spoke on a higher caliber and others could only understand what they could see, hear and touch. They couldn’t believe what they couldn’t see. Sound familiar?
God will speak to you
Be still and know that I am God.
You just need to shut off the tv, stop checking your phone, stop, just STOP. Sit and Listen. He wants to talk to you, he wants to tell you things. He wants you to ask him for things. And if you tell him to take you into deep waters, he sure will take you, and then tell you “you told me to take you into deep waters.”
I learned that I don’t want to get caught up in the stuff. The stuff being: my job, chores, tv, bills, stress, insecurities, daily activities, feeling bad because of something I ate or didn’t eat, feeling bad because I didn’t get the dishes done again, saying I’ll do something and not doing it again, telling myself I’ll go to bed early again and not doing it, getting caught up in all kinds of plans and feeling obligated to stick to them, setting up goals and not reaching them, trying to be more this or that, the materials things I wish I had, the money I don’t have, and everything else that I focus on. I don’t want to get caught up in the all the stuff of life. I want to fixate my eyes on Jesus. I want to hear him talk. I want to allow myself to be loved, and sought after by him.
During these 21 days I received confirmation and encouragement on some of the things I was asking God about.
*Very unexpectedly, someone heard me speak about my family and they felt it to pass on to me the story in Judges 6 about Gideon. God tells Gideon to go and save Israel out of Midan’s hands. Gideon said “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manassas, and I am the least in my family.” God said, “I’ll be with you;” I teared up in front of the man telling me this story.
*The Lord disciplines those he loves-Proverbs 3:12
Give to everyone what you owe them-Romans 13:7
*God is guarding my purity. He is acting as my heavenly Father, protecting and vigilant. He’s the dad that answers the door and says Don’t mess with MY daughter.