Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Life Apps - Part 4 (fasting)

Most people have heard of fasting - the practice of denying yourself something as a spiritual practice. Most people fast from food but you can also "fast" from other things - technology (not a bad idea in our current culture) or other specific things or habits that fill up your life and leave little room for God. The point of fasting is to have physical or mental reminder to spend more time with God and be more dependent on Him. If you are fasting from techonology, you will have a lot more time in your day to pray and consider what God is calling you to do. If you are hungry, you will have to lean upon God more to get through the day. The rumblings of your stomach are a sort of call to prayer and meditation.

Fasting is a great way to clear our minds of all the things that clutter up life and open ourselves to God's leading. It must be done, however, in a thoughtful and deliberate way.

For example, I cannot fast from food. I had an eating disorder for many years when I was younger and no matter how many years pass between me and that time, fasting from good causes me to focus on weight loss not God. For me, a fast from techonology or books other than the Bible would be a much better choice if my end goal is to draw closer to God.

For you, a fast from food might work perfectly well, but a technological fast might cause you so much anxiety that you cannot focus on God.

We all have to pick and choose what is the best way to fast in order to really have the time and space to focus on God.

Fasting is a real, tangible way to draw closer to God. It is a great spiritual practice for times when discernment is needed, when you or a loved one is in great distress, or whenever you feel that your focus on God has slipped. Fasting can draw you closer to God and enable you to speak to Him more clearly as well as to hear His voice more clearly.

Here a few more guidelines for fasting:
-Fasting is a private affair between you and God. It is not something to 'brag' to others about.
-You never Fast on Sunday because that is the day we remember Jesus' resurrection. Sunday is a day of celebration
-If you are doing a fast from food, make sure you are doing it in a healthful way. Always drink plenty of liquids.
-Try to fast at least once a year. It is a great way spiritual practice to put into your life's routine.


“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 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 6:16-18