I have developed over the past few years a personal tradition that has turned into one of my favorites! Every January I get to start the New Year off with a fast. Now don’t stop reading because you don’t agree with my word choice! I said “get to” on purpose because for so many years of my Christian life I was unable to fast.
I use to struggle with vanity and my body image. So much so that for almost two years I was anorexic. Before, the pursuit of a fast was never about an expression of my love and devotion for the Lord, it was a spiritual longing compromised by my obsessive need to lose weight. (I like to call things what they are!)
I could tell it wasn’t pure because after a day of not eating I’d immediately step on the scale to see how much I weighed. The compromise didn’t start there, it actually started in my thoughts. The second I would have a desire to fast or someone would call a fast and I wanted to join my initial thought was, “I wonder how much weight I could lose.”
Ah, but insert Jesus. He fully delivered me (story for another post for sure). The process of loving myself, realizing that I am beautiful, and surrendering vanity took some time. I am so set free in that area that, as I write, it sounds like I am describing another person’s journey!
And now I get to add fasting into my lifestyle and relationship with the Lord. So since I have been able to do this I’d love to share with you some things I have learned and fallen in love with about the spiritual discipline of fasting!
- Fasting is not about meeting a mark or a standard. It’s about love and devotion. When I was dating my husband my heart was so alive I would simply forget certain daily routines because my heart was in the clouds. As I fast, I don’t worry about putting a limit on my love. Not in days, not in food, not in time spent reading and worshiping. The length or extremity of restriction is not the goal!
- You shouldn’t fast for breakthrough. Jesus modeled for us to fast before we needed to release power. If you fast for breakthrough it’s similar to fasting to lose weight. Fast because your head is in the clouds concerning our Bridegroom Jesus. Fast because you hunger for Him alone. Breakthrough is the byproduct of relationship with Him.
- Psalms 69:10 (KJV) the writer says he chastens his soul with fasting. I have found that sometimes my soul does not line up to my spirit or to truth and that it is healthy for me to periodically fast to discipline my soul. When I tell my soul what it will do instead of the opposite – allowing my soul to make decisions for me, I find that I actually connect even deeper and more quickly with Jesus. Maybe that’s a part of what Jesus meant when He told us in Luke 10:27 to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and strength.
I encourage you mighty woman of God, if you haven’t tried fasting or haven’t done it in a while, DO IT! Study what the Bible says about it and what others have learned about the fruit of fasting. You won’t be disappointed as you give up earthly things for heavenly intimacy!
Redefined by Grace,