The Blessings of Fasting...
When it came to fasting, I was rather good at fasting, not from food, but from the Lord and His Word. Then one day I began to hear from fellow Christians how much they enjoyed fasting. These Christians proclaimed all the blessings of fastings. I immediately thought to myself, "What are they talking about? No food, how could starving be a blessing? What, a loss of water weight? “Of course, when I tried to fast before, all I heard was complaints from my stomach telling me to feed me, and to feed me now or else pay. Unfortunately, I would give into these grievances and never reach the point to see what fasting might accomplish in my heart.
However, I didn't give up. I knew there had to be something to fasting that I was missing. I became smarter and continued my pursuit of fasting with a little preparation. A few days before my fast, I would quit caffeine and eat lighter. It was amazing how preparing for the fast made it easier to surpass a 24 hour period. That was an amazing feat! Then before you know it, there were times I was able to make it 72 hours. Now, I am not telling you this so you will think I am strong or a super Christian. Quite the contrary, I am very weak. But through Him, I was able to experience fasting.
Having said all this, you need to know, there is no certain time you must fast. How and what you fast is always between you and the Lord. But once I fasted, I began to see those blessings other spoke so joyful about. I want to share with you these blessings which became so clear-cut to me one day:
One, I learned fasting pulls me into a dependence on God. This is not so easily attained in a world that shouts out "Go for instant gratification." However, when my stomach would growl with pain, I learned to turn to Him. Secondly, I learned that fasting leads me toward humility. Now, this is something I struggle with daily, for the pride factor in me always wants to rule and I have to fight my selfishness. However, when I fast, I am surrendering and becoming grateful for my blessings. Gratefulness is one of the keys to humility. Fasting has the unique ability to help me see the areas to be thankful and pull this world out of me. Of course, my friend, it is not the fasting itself that accomplishes this particular goal, but a time given to prayer and study while fasting. Instead of food, I am feasting on His Word. I am letting Him fill my cup.We, Christians have been on a fast, a fast from the Lord for too long. Thirdly, fasting helped me see how things in this world, including food, can come with an addictive capability. It is good to know with God all things can be conquered. Fourthly, while fasting, I began to see the ugliest of my heart. Fasting makes one more sensitive to the Spirit. When spending time in fasting and prayer, my sin became lucid, and I knew I needed to repent. Fifthly, during my fast, I could feel His precious Spirit strengthen me. It was strange, because it was the opposite of what I thought would happen, He was carrying me through the fast. Lastly, it seems as though I finally could observe God move. It was like obstacles were being removed and prayers were being answered. This is the ultimate blessing!
These blessings I mentioned above have changed my life. I finally could see that it wasn't about me not eating food, but me feasting on Him. I wasn't trying to earn anything from Him, but what I needed to receive from Him was given through fasting.
Having said all this, I pray that you, too, will begin the pursuit of fasting. You will see what the Lord wants to accomplish in your life as you seek Him. The Christian life is to be a banquet of feasting on Him. Don't you see, you can feast on His Word as much as you want, without any regret of indulgence? His Word always brings us out of ourselves and into His world...a world that reveals humility by serving humanity with grace, gratefulness, and love. It moves us beyond ourselves. Go ahead and give it a try, because it is good for you. Remember, if God is asking you to fast, do it, for when He ask, and you obey, the blessings flow. He always has your best interest at heart.
Matthew 6:16 "And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (ESV)
Fasting is a discipline which brings many blessings, so don't miss out.