FASTING - Getting practical
As we continue in our journey of becoming
DIVERGENT it is most important to establish
our passion for God at the centre of who we are and everything we do. To help us in that, scripture has given disciplines that focus our lives on who God is and what he wants. Fasting (and the accompanying prayer and focus on God and his word) is a critical element of creating a life that is focused on and dependent on the Holy Spirit. Fasting establishes an intentional sense of order in our lives with the spiritual needs above the natural.
In Matthew 4:2 Jesus set a great example for us when He fasted for forty days and nights (Matthew 4:2) and reminded His followers to fast when he said "when you fast," not if you fast. The Apostles and early Church also fasted (Acts 13:2, 2 Cor. 6:4, 5, 2 Cor. 11:27)
Fasting helps in a number of key ways
a) Focuses us back on the ‘first love’ of God that can be lost so easily through distraction and familiarity.
b) It helps to bring humility in our lives before God. King David said, "I humble myself through fasting." (Psalm 35:13; Ezra 8:21).
c) In that place of humility God is able to reveal and convict us of our sin focus us on the transformed life he has called us to.
d) Helps in bringing divine guidance (Judges 20:26–28)
e) Victory over temptation Matt. 4:1–11
f) Brings Courage when stepping out in faith (Esther 4:16)
g) When our lives are lit by God we become far more effective in our impact on others.
h) It is key in seeing our city, nation and world changed for Christ
"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chron 7:14
The Greek word for fasting is nesteia -- a compound of ne (a negative prefix) and esthio which means "to eat." So the basic root meaning of the word simply means "not to eat."
So take a first step in not eating for a meal, then a day, then a couple days and increase your fast and focus but go in with open eyes.
Things to do and be aware of
Realise, that whilst Fasting is spiritual in its goal and focus it is obviously connected to our physical nature. It is often important to ‘ease’ into fasting. Many tend to FEAST – FAST – FEAST. Doing so obviously misses the point of fasting but also is not good for you physically. I have some funny but bad stories of people who have feasted after fasting for a long periods – lets just say DON’T DO IT) If you have any questions on going into a longer fast and breaking the fast just ask.
Also if you have any particular physical obstacles eg. Pregnancy, diabetes, hyperglycemia, heart disease etc. or you are at all unsure talk to your doctor and/or us.
Getting Hungry is normal – that’s part of the point. When you are hungry, have something to drink and allow that hunger to force you to God.
- Meditate on God’s word
- Activate– Do something for God and people
When you don’t eat you will be amazed by the time in your life used for food preparation and consumption. Use this time to focus on God.
As you become weaker through fasting, your mood can be affected. Be aware of this, do not allow it to control your mood or the way you treat others. Some times this can be a bad witness in trying to grow spiritually.
Know your motivations
Jesus warned us about having wrong motivations in fasting (to look spiritual. (Matthew 6:1, 16-18) People will sometimes ask, for non-Christian friends, it might help to tell them you have other plans. Tell Christians if needed (but don’t focus on it). The point is this is not about gaining the praise of man but clearly focus and connection with God.
Fasting is also not
- Simply a physical disciple(or a weight loss answer) Whilst weight loss and physical disciple can be important fasting is not either.
- a way to manipulate God – it is easy to treat fasting like a hunger strike until God does what we want him to . (He won’t - see Acts23:12,1)
If you have any questions please drop us a line. Lets stand together to see our world changed for Christ.