Fasting: A Christian Lifestyle
Fasting, by definition, is the abstinence from food. But the definition, over time, has extended to mean abstinence from social media, entertainment, or other regular activities that could possibly pull one from having quality time with God.
More than abstinence from doing particular activities, fasting can also be regarded as a spiritual practice. It is a setting aside of time to be alone with God, seeking Him and knowing His will. It is the removal of distractions in your life to listen to the voice of God. Time and again, we hear of fasting preceding a miracle of God, or its being used as a weapon against the attacks of the devil. Sometimes, too, we think of fasting as a charm to get what we want from God. But, are these the true essence of fasting?
HOW FASTING IS DONE
Is this your first time to fast? Fasting depends on your preferences, taking into consideration your health and fitness status, capability, and willingness to commit to do it. Here are basic things to consider when you begin your fast.
1. Set a specific date, time, and place for your fasting.
- FULL FASTING: Whole day (24 hours) fast with no food and drink (However, some go with drinking water only.)
- PARTIAL FASTING: Setting a specific time of fast (Example: from 8:00AM – 5:00PM) or skipping a meal (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) or two in a particular day
- PLACE: Most do it inside the church. However, there is no specific rule about this. You may choose to fast at work, in school, or in the comfort of your home.
2. Use the time you set aside to pray to God and study His Word.
Fasting is always accompanied with prayer and the reading of God’s Word. Without both, fasting will only be a form of starvation, or a skipping of meals. The very purpose why we abstain from food and other activities is to fix our focus on God, to humble ourselves before Him, and to seek His will for our lives. Prayer and reading of the Bible are the avenues by which we speak to God and hear His voice.
3. Keep your fasting private.
Matthew 6:16-18 (GNT) says, “And when you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. 17 When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, 18 so that others cannot know that you are fasting—only your Father, who is unseen, will know. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.”
These verses show us that God delights in those who go through their fasting humbly and quietly. It pleases Him when our fasting reveals the true reason – to have more of God and less of ourselves. Hence, it is should follow that our fasting will lead others to see God’s greatness at work in and through us, and not our own sacrifices or successes. Our fasting is our act of humble worship before God. He alone should be glorified and lifted high.
BENEFITS OF FASTING
PHYSICAL: According to Nathan Hewitt in his article entitled, 10 Benefits of Fasting that will Surprise You published in lifehack.org, fasting has a lot of physical benefits such as the aiding in weight loss, improving the insulin sensitivity, speeding up the metabolism, and improving the eating patterns, among others. Science has also proven that there are various ways by which fasting helps improve our physical bodies. It is no wonder why doctors, nutritionists, and other experts advise fasting to repair and restore certain bodily functions.
SPIRITUAL: Fasting makes us more sensitive to the presence of God. In the Bible, when Jesus fasted, He was able to face the devil and overcome his temptations. Fasting strengthens us spiritually and gives us the supernatural power to defeat the works of the enemy. Fasting also intensifies our love for God. By limiting ourselves to pleasures of the flesh, we allow ourselves to gaze at the beauty of God and enjoy His goodness and grace in our lives.
Heavenly Father, I pray for the boldness to commit to a time of fasting and prayer. As Jesus Christ demonstrated, so should I, His child, do and follow. Thank You for teaching me that fasting is a lifestyle, and not a special occasion, in the life of every Christian. May I excel in this as I strive to live a victorious life.