This is the fourth blog in a series on fasting.
Do you want what God wants, when God wants it, how God wants it? I think we all want that. The only qualifier is how much do we want it? Enough to come before Him in fasting and prayer?
It’s not about what we can do. In fact, we can’t do it – only God can. As we do what He says, we can win our communities and our cities for Christ. I challenge you to do it and see how it changes your life.
As I look around any group of people, I realize something - we can all afford to miss a meal (or more). What we cannot afford to miss is the will of God.
What are some of the different types of fasts? This is not a comprehensive list – it’s just to get you thinking about the variety of ways that we can do this.
- Total: food and water (limited length if water)
- Meats and sweets (great for kids)
- One meal, one day, etc.
…Or just about any variation you can think of
So – some practical things when it comes to fasting. You may ask, “What if I get hungry?” Well, what if you’re stranded somewhere without food? You just don’t eat! It won’t hurt you!
Some of you are going to get hungry and you’re going to say, “I’m not going to eat. I’m not going to eat. I’M NOT GOING TO EAT!” You’ll walk into the kitchen saying, “I’m not going to eat,” and before long – you are. Then you’re going to feel guilty and think, “Oh God I blew it bad.” But guess what, this is about grace, not works, and He understands. Just take the next step and begin again.
How about this one, “What if I get a headache?” Just take Advil – or whatever you take for a headache. Hey, I’m not in this for the torture – I just want to be obedient.
Moving one step at a time
If this is your first time, for goodness sake don’t start out with a 40 day fast! Start one step at a time. Start with one meal, then two, then a day. The more you do it, the better it will be. Start with the first step, not a marathon.
A word of caution – don’t just go eat yourself to death before a fast to get ready for it. It will just make you twice as hungry when you start.
It does tend to show you your commitment level, doesn’t it? If I were to tell you you’re controlled by your stomach, you would say, “I am not controlled by my stomach!” Well, I guess this is the perfect time to find out, isn’t it?
After hearing a sermon on fasting, a man decided God wanted him to do that. He set aside a day to fast, and he had a miserable day. Every time he walked out on the street, he seemed to find himself in front of a restaurant where the aroma of cooking was tantalizing, or mouth-watering pastries were displayed in the window.
He had a tremendous inner struggle in trying to abstain. So at the end of the day he gave his stomach a talking to. He said, “Now, stomach, you’ve been very rebellious today. You’ve made a lot of trouble for me and for that I’m going to discipline you. I’m going to fast tomorrow as well as today.”
What a great lesson! Remember, your body is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master. If you are really going to succeed in the Christian life and win the prize in the Believer’s athletics, you are going to have to establish that your body does not dictate to you or control you, and that you are not controlled by its whims or appetites.
When you fast, you serve notice on your body and on your carnal nature, “You don’t control me. I’m not subject to you.” No, instead you must be controlled by a sense of God’s divine destiny and purpose for your life.
Your gift to God
By the way, I left the best reason for fasting for the last. Yes, fasting is a great means of cleansing, both spiritually and physically, a means of gaining direction, and a means for deliverance and protection.
Ultimately the most important reason for fasting is that it is just plain and simple a gift to God. An offering of myself to my Lord. Acts 13:2 says, “They worshiped, or ministered to the Lord, and fasted.”
When I’m fasting and it gets hard to keep going (and it almost always does) the thing that keeps me going is that it is ultimately just that – an offering to my Lord – because He is worthy! And that is reason enough for me.