Saturday, January 26, 2013

the call to fast...

FAST (fast), (fast'-ing) (tsum; `innah nephesh, "afflict soul or self," i.e. practice self-denial; (from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)

but I [a]discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.~ 1 Corinthians 9:27(NasB)

I've been feeling the Holy Spirit gently call me to fast for some time now. I finally listened this past week & it's been nothing short of wonderful. I know what you're thinking. Wonderful? Yes, I say that because this fast has been unlike any I've done. I chose liquids only from the time I woke up until I was off work. I didn't want this particular fast to affect my family or my ability to cook and enjoy dinner with them. NOT that one can not do that victoriously. I just felt drawn to the way I did it. I didn't get all "religious" about what I was drinking but only allowed myself one cup of coffee in the morning & juice or water the rest of the day. Many choose the Daniel Fast which consists of no meats, no sweets, no breads & is based on the fast Daniel did in the Bible for 21 days, see link for details. My friend Justin Hampton over at Understanding Fasting practices a pretty routine lifestyle of fasting. He has written very interesting articles related to fasting & I have a deep respect for his knowledge & wisdom. He has truly inspired me to really seek God about fasting & to value its benefits!

Let me now share with you about what I've learned this week. My fast took place Monday through part of Friday. I woke up in my usual mode of sit down do my devotional & read a few scriptures. It was as awesome as usual because spending time with Him is the highlight of my day. Honestly this week I felt on a spiritual high. I was not tempted to eat but a few times although I did experience normal hunger pangs that was just an indication for me to pray or a reminder to talk to God about the things I had set out to accomplish through this fast. The reason I say this time was the most successful yet is that my Spirit was hungry for God & not food. I found my inner man cheering myself on to be obedient & it seriously felt like an accomplishment for me. I in no way am saying I chose not to eat for a contest but what I am saying is that for once I was able to confidently put my flesh in check. Without fighting it (discipline). My flesh obeyed what my Spirit was desiring by way of seeking God through scripture, prayer, and worship. throughout my time fasting I felt expressively several things being shown to me.

First, I chose to write out John 15 & James 1 which are the chapters being discussed at Coffee & Jesus this morning(actually). I like doing that because it helps me to soak in what I'm reading & slow down long enough to really meditate and think about what I'm reading opposed to rushing through and not giving God time to speak to me. I originally had planned on talking about what I thought these scriptures entailed, all of which they do, but this week He was able to speak something totally different that I did not expect. Second, I could really hear Him telling me to parent my children. To not live life by them but with them. I put my phone aside(big distraction for me), spent minimal time on social media and let my 4 year old cook with me several nights. I played cars, we pretended to cook in his room, and was able to lay around and just talk with my teenage boys. I found that being without food I was able to hear clearly & it humbled me a lot! Third, I was shown my dependence on food for comfort, boredom, etc. I am thankful that I now realize I do not need an abundance of food. But to eat when hungry & eat healthy food to give me energy. God is always speaking but often times we can be so focused on scheduled meals, busyness, and the chaos of life that we don't hear Him when He speaks. I felt championed to be an all around better servant, mother, wife, friend, etc. I enjoyed spending my lunch time reading the scriptures & sometimes just simply resting in His love for me. 

Fasting was used routinely by people in Bible. Some for a time of mourning, some for inner , strengthening, and others for a response from the Lord about a decision or obstacle they were facing. 
I love this John Piper quote in his book titled "When I Don't Desire God" 

The point of fasting is to express longing for Christ and all that God is for us in Him. Fasting is the hungry handmaid of prayer. Like prayer she both reveals and remedies. She reveals the measure of food’s mastery over us— or television or computers or whatever we submit to again and again to conceal the weakness of our hunger for God. And she remedies by intensifying the earnestness of our prayer and saying with our whole body what prayer says with the heart: I long to be satisfied in God alone!

We ultimately should practice fasting as a way to stay intimately connected with God. So that we hear Him speak even when He whispers. I long to talk to Him & hear Him speak back. It not only delights me and brings refreshing but it positions me to walk out His will for my life. Ultimately I've lived long enough doing it my way & this beautiful gift of fasting has opened my heart & mind to the unlimited possibilities of my God to direct my footsteps! I pray you will consider fasting even if all you do is read more about it in the links I posted.

Multiple verses about fasting {click here}

It's with my whole heart that I pray you receive what I've shared today. Unlock this gift, you will not be let down. It isn't easy nor was it designed to be. This is an opportunity to discipline your body & make it your slave instead of being a slave to it any longer!

Blessings in Him

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the read, been thinking of fasting for some time now and I hve tried several times but to no avail, i cant seem to say no my favourite junk, meat, etc so am trying to read more on the fasting subject to stregthen me, He guided me towards this page, thanks again