Are you thinking that fasting seems nearly impossible or kind of pointless? Be honest. Anyone new to fasting thinks that. Myself included before I tried it. I never thought much about it, until I noticed my Pastor would mention fasting in his sermons pretty often. Fasting is very prevalent in the Bible. Even Jesus fasted, so I figured there must be something to it. Fasting, along with daily prayer, reading your Bible, and staying true to Gods word will help strengthen your relationship with Jesus. (Let’s just call these the Big 4.) He wants us to do great things, but we can’t do that if we don’t follow his basic teachings. Many people think that fasting is just getting rid of food. But really it is a time to say no to our flesh, which in turn strengthens our spirit. Read on to find out why it is so important for Christians to fast.
Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places”. Without having a strong connection to God, we are going to have a hard time fighting these forces. Fasting from food is not the only type of fasting, but I will get into that more below.
God makes big moves in your life
When you sacrifice to Him like He wants you to, He will change your life and make it what He wants. And what He wants is always better than what we want. When I need answers, I fast. Recently, I was facing a major decision, but I had no idea what to do. God’s answer came to me while I was fasting and everything worked out.
It is hard to stay God-centered in this world. We tend to want to do things our own way and put God on the back-burner. Then we just run around being mediocre at everything, and not being great like He wants us to be. I feel so much more productive when I am praying, fasting, and reading my Bible more. But it doesn’t take long to sink back into our old ways if we are not careful. We are all works in progress, but the more we seek Him the less we will stray off down the wrong path (and for not as long).
How much time do we waste a day on our smartphones or eating when we don’t really need to? And then how do you feel after? These things will never improve us. But when you give them up for a short while you will begin to see the beauty in life away from these things and eventually find yourself free from them. It doesn’t matter how serious the addiction is, God will deliver you from it.
I was addicted to shopping (online and off) and subconsciously I knew it was a problem. But I loved the feeling I got after I bought something. It took a while for me to realize that I couldn’t stop on my own, but as soon as I fully understand that I needed to change I prayed for deliverance from it. I did the Big 4 as much as I could (effort is what matters to God, not perfection) and maybe a month or so later I didn’t feel like I needed to shop anymore. It was so weird because I didn’t realize my prayer had been answered until some time later. It’s nice reflecting back and remembering how I felt so out of control then and now I can tell myself no. It’s very liberating.
Most of us could stand to lose a couple of pounds and fasting is a great way to do that. God wants us to be healthy and take care of the body He gave us. Also, diets high in sugar and fat can lead depression and many other health problems. Taking out certain foods for a short amount of time can help us to crave them less after we are done fasting. Here is a great article discussing some health risks related to excess weight by HelpGuide.org.
This may sound confusing to some, but there really is a spiritual war going on in our world and inside of us. Our flesh (evil) vs. our spirit (good). Fasting helps to strengthen our spirits and break the chains of this world. We are all bound by sin in ways that we don’t even realize sometimes. Maybe you are bound by drug addiction, pornography, anger, greed, jealousy, or depression. Depression, anger, and greed had a hold of me, but God delivered me from them. I am not saying I don’t get angry or sad. But it’s not extreme like it used to be.
It’s easy to have a never ended list of wants in our materialistic world and feel like we need more, more, more. But money will never make us happy. I’ll tell you what will, though. Peace in our hearts. And trusting God in everything is the only way to have that. Period. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33).
We are only here temporarily. Focus on the kingdom and God will fill your heart with joy during your short time here. You may think, it’s easier said than done. But again, don’t worry about being perfect. It’s so hard to find a happy medium. (Trust me I know all too well :)). We think if we fail why would God help us and love us, but He made us imperfect for a reason. He wants us to try our best and not give up on Him when times get tough.
After completing fast after fast, you will begin taking back control over your life. Sometimes it seems as if our flesh is in control, but that’s only because we feed it instead of feeding our spirits. Obviously, we have to eat, but telling yourself no instills a sense of pride.
Helps you to Fully Understand Fasting
I now can’t imagine my life without fasting. My mind is so much clearer. I am bad about living on autopilot if I am not careful. I am able to live in the moment more often. God will continue to work on you little by little. As much as we want a dramatic change now, that probably won’t happen. Change takes a daily effort. Where do you want to be in 10 years? Still doing the same things for God or do you want to give more to God and watch Him out give you every single time?
How to Start:
Fasting, as many people know it, is giving up food and/or water for days and days. Maybe one day I will get there, but I am in no hurry. I’m not ready and I doubt you are either. Give up things that you like just one day a week. Some ideas for fasting include coffee, soda, meat, candy, surfing the Internet, watching TV, or playing video games. Just cut one thing out for a day and then work your way up to a week or whatever you feel is a good amount of time. At first, it will be very hard, but I promise you will be glad you did it.
Move up little by little
My first big fast was taking out food altogether until sundown each day for a week. I had a cup of coffee and water. It was so hard for the first couple of days. I felt a little light-headed and questioned what I was doing. I prayed for strength and made it through. God wants us to ask him for the strength to make it so we can learn to depend on him more and more in all areas of our lives. I had a major breakthrough during that time. If you are stuck at a point in your life and don’t know how to move forward, fast and you will see God work it out.
Types of Fasts:
This is in no way every type of fast there is, just some ideas for you to consider. I have done all but the last one. You can fast for however long you feel you should. Don’t make it too easy, but don’t start out expecting to go 40 days without food. I actually suggest you shouldn’t do that. People have expected to be able to just jump right in and do it and some died of starvation. I honestly don’t think I will ever do that in my lifetime.
- Take away one or two things you love (sweets, caffeine, etc.)
- Fast from one meal a day.
- Take out two meals a day.
- No food, only water.
- Smoothie and water only diet two days a week or every day for a week.
- Daniel Fast- Daniel in your Bible did this. He went 21 days without meat or any other delicacies. There are plenty of lists of approved foods online that can help guide you. Some say no milk, but I always drink milk.
- Jesus Fast- 40 days and 40 nights on only water. This is NOT for beginners! Others have done this, but please prepare yourself before attempting it. Ask your doctor, your pastor, and do your homework on it first. Again, I will probably never even attempt this one.
I know you can do it. And I hope this helped you to understand it’s not all or nothing. If you break a fast, it is okay. It’s going to happen, but you will get better at it. If you eat a cookie don’t think you are done with the fast. Just jump right back into it! Don’t give up!
Do you think fasting is important? What kind of fast will do first? Let me know in the comments below.
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