Friday, March 21, 2014
Scratching the Surface
(A Brief and Incomplete Guide to Fasting)
Jesus said, “When you fast…”
He did not say, “If you fast…”
Fasting, abstaining from food/drink/whatever as a spiritual discipline, was a regular part of His life and expected of those who want to get closer to Him.
Moses, David, Elijah, the disciples/apostles, and Jesus Himself fasted.
People who have been closest to Him throughout history have fasted.
So if we want to get closer to Him, we will include fasting in our spiritual disciplines/devotions as one of the ways to get closer to Him.
Admitting I’m only scratching the surface of this spiritual discipline/devotion, I have discovered at least three ways to fast: (1) Normal – abstaining from food/drink/whatever but not water; (2) Absolute – abstaining from food/drink/water/whatever; and (3) Partial – restricting food/drink/water/whatever.
Parenthetically, diabetics and folks taking medications should consult with a MD before fasting.
The method is not as important as the meaning/motive.
The specifics and timing are not remotely as important as the desire/hunger/thirst to do whatever He prescribes to increase intimacy with Him.
Fasting is a spiritual discipline/devotion akin to Hebrews 11:6: “God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
Derek Prince: “If you fast in the right way with the right motives, God will reward you openly. So if you fail to fast, bear in mind that you are depriving yourself of the reward.”
Simply, when we do what Jesus tells us to do, we move closer to Him.
Fasting aligns our hearts with His.
In How to Fast Successfully, Prince lists seven reasons to fast: (1) to humble one’s self before God; (2) to move closer to God; (3) because it is a tool to better understand Holy Scripture; (4) because God uses our obedience to reveal His will to us; (5) to seek healing; (6) to meet the challenges of life; and (7) to intercede for others.
Others have said fasting honors Him, mourns sins against Him, seeks grace, resists temptations, battles evil, shows repentance, gains revelation, and…
I won’t/can’t limit Him to seven or seven hundred reasons to fast; for my belief bolstered by experience is He is bigger than any of our estimates.
My belief bolstered by experience is He takes obedience through fasting to bless particularly and spectacularly.
It’s like a mentor counseled, “Just do what God tells you to do and He will bless you for it!”
George MacDonald: “Get up, and do something the Master tells you…Instead of asking yourself whether you believe or not, ask yourself whether you have this day done one thing because He said, ‘Do it,’ or once abstained because He said, ‘Do not do it.’ It is simply absurd to say you believe, or even want to believe in Him, if you do not do anything He tells you…Even the smallest step of obedience leads to spiritual growth and knowledge…Whosoever will do the will of God – not understand it, not care about it, not theorize about it, but do it – is a son of God.”
Jesus: “When you fast – practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God – don’t make a production out of it…God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. He won’t overlook what you are doing; He’ll reward you well.”
Less yields more when we fast.
Blessings and Love!