Objective: At the end of this article I want you to be able to make spiritually fruitful decisions for your life rather than going with the crowd.
Ok guys story time: I was a ‘faster’ and as a serial ex-dieter – fasting was a great time to indulge my ‘ED tendencies’ to lose weight and get God points! My fasting schedule was usually once a week throughout the year and a longer fast if I wanted something from God. Last year after my regular 21-day fast with an online church I went to the hospital for a blood test and the results were not good. I was like, ‘God didn’t I just fast for you?!’
Anyway, for the rest of the year, the Holy Spirit started teaching me about true fasting. In the old testament life, offerings, sacrifices and ceremonies involved a lot of feasting, so taking time out to fast from food was good for them. True fasting in Isaiah 58 barely said anything about food instead, God spoke to the people about injustice, caring for the poor and even watching your mouth. It is important to know that fasting does not twist God’s arm, but changes you and positions you to hear clearly from him; fasting could be removing anything that stops you from hearing clearly. In my opinion fasting for everybody should be different, some people need to go on a silent fast, media fast or phone fast. Now that is putting your flesh under not starving from 6am-6pm then bingeing till midnight (guilty as charged).
Last week in my home group we discussed faith and doing whatever it takes to see your faith produce fruit. The discussion was based on Hebrews 12:1-2 where Paul after, going through the faith hall of fame in Hebrews 11, talks about stripping off the weight that slows us down and getting rid of the sin that easily trips us up. If you missed my last article on this please check it out, it is really good :).
This discussion was very timely as it was the beginning of lent, later that evening as the discussions got deeper I FINALLY GOT SOME CLARITY. Hebrews 12:2 talks about fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, which is basically saying that to strip off the weight and get rid of the sin, you need to fix your eyes on Jesus.
So where is your clarity Nemi? Well, thank you for asking
You see when most people fast their aim is to weaken their flesh so that their spirit can be stronger right? But what tends to happen is that after the Fast, they strengthen their flesh again by indulging in the things they cut out in the first place. We all know how we all watch the clock and countdown to break our fasts. What if instead of trying to use willpower to weaken the flesh we FEAST on the word of God, praise, worship and meditation to strengthen our spirit.
Feast instead of Fast?
I realised from our discussions that the key to winning any spiritual battle is to strengthen your ‘Spirit Man’ because as your spirit gets stronger you are able to more easily control, your flesh, mind and emotions.
Now I know we are all different and we have different needs, battles and proclivities, so I guess what I am trying to say is this: before jumping on the fasting bandwagon give yourself a spiritual MOT. Man, is made up of spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23) and the strongest of the three dominates the man. The general approach tends to be weakened the flesh to strengthen the spirit and that is what fasting is all about. The Bible says in Proverbs 18:14, ‘A man’s spirit can endure sickness, but who can survive a broken spirit?’ In my understanding, this Proverb emphasises the ability of a man with a strong spirit to withstand bodily and emotional pain but struggle to survive a broken spirit.
My aim of the article is to make you think, pray, seek God and decide what the most spiritually fruitful approach is for you.