Take it from me, I know that struggle. And it is very real.
What comes to mind, when you hear the call to fast? For how long? What kind of fast? When is it starting? And the questions and thoughts never end.
For the past four to five years, I attended RCCG [Redeemed Christian Church of God]; and fasting is very known to every member of the church. I recall vividly that the month of February is the month of fast, even last year a 100-days fast was declared. I will be real with you. I could not stomach 100 days fast. I got involved for the first two weeks and I said to myself; ‘don’t deceive yourself, because you cannot deceive God’. I wanted to fast but my flesh was not willing and I just let it be. After all, not fasting won’t change God’s love for me. Not false! But there is a higher calling as a child of God.
During the last quarter of 2014, I decided to deal with the flesh with the help of the Holy Spirit in this area; with the intention of waxing stronger this year. The Lord has been laying this on my heart to share, considering how He has helped me.
So let’s talk about fasting….
When I was younger, whenever I heard the word ‘fasting’, I just assumed it was stay away from food. But as I have grown I have come to understand that; Fasting is a set out period of consecration, where a ‘man’ decides to subdue the flesh to the Spirit of God. It is a spiritual exercise. It is not just the abstinence from food and drinks; it also entails abstinence from things that take the place of God in our lives. So a person can fast from blogs, social media, watching movies, playing games and every other thing that competes with fellowshipping with God.
Fasting is not…
- Abstaining from eating and drinking, and not praying. That is an intentional move to starve or ‘diet’. The aim of fasting is to take our eyes off ‘the world’ and focus on God, and praying is a significant way of achieving this. [reading the bible is another].
- A prerequisite for answered prayers. I John 5:14-15 makes us understand that we can boldly and freely come into God’s presence, asking for anything according to his will, and we can be sure that he’s listening… and that whatever we ask for is as good as ours. Remember 2 Samuel 12: 14-31, where David fasted, wept and prayed that his son should not die. It was not God’s will for the son to live. He fasted but it did not change God’s will.
- An act of/for the most holy. Fasting does not make person A more holy than person B, and it is not only for certain people. I believe fasting is for every believer.
What is the fasting attitude and what is not the fasting attitude?
…You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean fist. The kind of fast you do won’t get your prayers off the ground. Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like? This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your own families….. Isaiah 58:5-9 MSG
When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. God doesn’t require attention-giving devices. He won’t overlook what you are doing; he’ll reward you well. Matthew 6:16-18 MSG
One thing I have come to know is that your motive for fasting is the bedrock of if you are really fasting God’s way. For example, if you are fasting to lose some pounds, God knows. If you are fasting, just because there was a call for it in your church, God knows. At this point, I will like to state that there is nothing wrong with joining in on a congregational fast. Personally, I believe if you have doubts in your spirit about where you are worshiping, then you should find another church.
Just like I said earlier, there are different forms of fast. It could be the Daniel fast [Daniel 10: 2-3]- no meat or wine. Dry fast- no water, no food; or the fast that only liquids are taken.
I will love to start fasting, how do I go about it?
- Pray and ask God to give you strength. Believe me, when I say, there will be obstacles, from stomach growling to faintness to doubts of if you are fasting right.
- Ask God for wisdom.James 1:5. You do not just decide to fast and immediately embark on 30 days at a stretch. You may faint. Know your body. You can start gradually; maybe fast till 12noon first, then till 3pm and progressively till you can do the 30days.
- Let there be a purpose for fasting. It could range for interceding for your leaders to a cry for revival. Meditating and praying the Word of God. Not waking up on a bright Tuesday and saying It sure feels good to fast on this day. There is a high possibility of engaging in hunger strike.
- Be patient with yourself. God sees your desire to subdue the flesh, so there may be days when you have been on a high of fasting till 6pm, then a day comes when you cannot even go past 11am. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance, as situations differ, but he will lead you aright.
Is fasting that important or compulsory?
Whenever I hear this question, I remember the story in Mark 9:17-29, where the disciples could not drive out demons from a possessed boy and they asked Jesus why they could not drive out the demon, He said that ‘This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting’. This makes me understand that there are certain things that requires the combination of fasting and prayer, in order for a change to take place.
I believe fasting is very important in our walk as Christians. We have this popular saying that ‘Fasting doesn’t change God, it changes you’. True! But here’s the omission- Fasting definitely touches the heart of God. The bible makes us understand that God rewards those who diligently seek him [Hebrew 11:6]. As we grow in Christ, we move from the position of God, what can you do for me? to God, what can I do for you? [In the sense of ‘how can I live for you better?’] When we come to the understanding of being heirs of Christ, we are ready to forgo ‘morsels of bread’ to gain deeper fellowship with God.
Fasting is not a punishment; it is an act of worship.
It is my prayer that as we grow in Christ this new year, we will be Christians that will seek for deeper fellowship with God. We will seek His face more than His hands. Amen
So what’s your view on fasting? Ever struggled with fasting? I know I left something out, what could that be?
PT TIP OF THE DAY
You are what you eat. You eat healthy, you are healthy. Training up your body. Healthy eating is a necessary investment. Do your part!
Missed my last post?