I received very little information on fasting growing up. Aside from occasionally knowing that my father was fasting, there wasn’t much substance given to the practice. In my mind, it was labeled as something extreme or unnecessary. If I was going to fast, it would be from TV or Facebook, certainly not food.
I became convicted about a year ago that I was wrong. Fasting is something commanded not just in the Old Testament, but by Jesus Himself.
“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. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 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.” – Matthew 6:16-18, ESV
I guess I am breaking a cardinal rule by tell you that I am fasting today. Well, at this point in the day, the fast is broken. Thankfully, it wasn’t like last week’s fast which failed altogether (as in, I never even started).
This week, I fasted, and I prayed for unity and peace. I prayed that, in the midst of this hard season, Hubby and I would grow closer to one another and, more importantly, to Him. These are the days when we are crying out for life, that we would not neglect to seek true Life.
Fasting has been a good discipline for me to develop. Too often, I give up quickly, especially when food is involved. I think fasting is teaching me to control my most intense and basic inner-drive and, through that, to master the rest of my body, mind, and soul.
They say goals work best if you write them down so, here it is: My goal is to fast at least once a week. There may come a time when I do not practice this regularly but right now, I need just that – practice. Fasting is one of the most difficult spiritual disciplines for me so continually forcing myself to dedicate at least the first half of my day to it, is the only way I can do as Paul said and beat my body into submission.
I’m surprised at how many Christians have been confused and tried to talk me out of the necessity of fasting when I’ve spoken with them about it. Is this your experience? How do you treat fasting?