What Type of Fasting Right for You?
Is fasting right for you? Should you fast from food and drink? What type of fasting is right for you?
What is Fasting?
Fasting is primarily a movement of willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a period of 24 hours, or a number of days.
This fits the fasting in the Bible as evidenced by Ester.
16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
Esther 4:16 (NIV)
If you read your Bible, you see that they fasted quite often. I actually feel guilty because I don’t feel that I am strong enough to fast from food. As Jesus said:
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
Matthew 26:41 (NIV)
I am willing, but my stomach and feels quite painful and then my entire focus shifts to food. I work so I can’t spend as much time in prayer as I would like. But, I still want to fast.
Closer to God
Fasting is a way to get us closer to God. We live in a sinful world and must be careful not to get caught up in that sin. I wanted to fast, but I’m weak. So, I had to turn to an alternative method.
A few years ago, a friend mentioned that he and his wife wanted to fast. They wanted to get their children involved, but didn’t want them to miss meals. What they decided to do was ask each child to give up one of their favorite activities for the week.
I thought that was a great concept and I asked my daughter to participate with me. We each gave up a favorite activity. Hers was a particular show she liked to watch daily and mine was celebrity gossip. At the end of the week, I had no interest in reading celebrity gossip. Every now and then I’ll read it if it pops up on the news site, but I no longer go to the gossip sites and have no interest in doing so.
This month, my church is asking us to fast and pray. I decided to give up two things this week and spend my time focusing on the Bible instead. This time, I let go of a particular news site that I read at least three times a day. I also stopped watching YouTube videos unless they are related to the Bible or teaching about business. I tended to get on YouTube and lose an hour on nonsense.
I was surprised at how much harder it was this time around. I started on Sunday and was about to pull up the news site out of sheer habit. After twiddling my thumbs for a minute, I decided to do an online Bible study instead. I usually watched YouTube videos before going to sleep. After my daughter was in bed and I was winding down for the night. That was also harder. It was my way of de-stressing. I decided to focus more on this site instead.
Sunday and Monday were tough. But, starting Tuesday, I had no problem pulling up the Bible app or reading through a Bible study. If I want news, I look at the local channel. It eliminates the fluff and gets straight to the point. I used YouTube only to listen to praise music and learn how to create ebooks. I’m hoping to create a book of devotions, so I felt it was appropriate.
Today, I’m wondering if I’ll even bother going back to my old habits. Focusing my attention on Bible study, praise and worship, and learning quickly became my new favorites. I pray that this will continue when my week is over. I plan to be stronger.
Between You and God
Fasting is supposed to be a private act between you and God.
17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 6:17 – 18 (NIV)
I’m not posting about my fasting to boast or brag, but to encourage. There are some who feel that fasting should ONLY involve abstaining from food and drink. But, God wants us to use our time to focus on HIM. So, if someone gives you grief, don’t sweat it. God knows your heart and THAT is what he wants.
If you have trouble fasting from food, try fasting from something else. The purpose of fasting is to deny yourself and focus on God. If you still want to fast from food, that will come. Don’t let others discourage you. Man does dictate your life, God does.
Have a blessed day.