“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.
Sometimes I feel like talking about fasting is like talking about fight club. There is only one rule of fight club.
You don’t talk about fight club.
And that, for some reason, has been my feelings about fasting. I feel like I won’t be ‘as holy’ or get as ‘close to God’ or something if I talk about it.
Needless to say, I went back and forth about this post.
Fasting for Us
So, our fasting routine is probably closest to the Daniel Fast. We eat fruits and vegetables, cutting out meats, sweets, carbonated drinks, breads and pastas. For us, we DO eat croutons and cheese on salads, and do have ranch dressing and creamy potato soup.
Also, we decided that fasting the TV was a good thing for us. (You don’t realize how much you have slipped back into watching television until you STOP watching television!)
Since the year is 365 days, we fast for 36 days, offering God 1/10th of our year.
Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!”
There are 3 Things that I believe Fasting does to help me, and maybe they will resonate with you too.
1. Fasting Makes me aware of God. Like Jacob, many times, I have no idea that God is close to me. Life gets going really fast, and I just pay no attention. Fasting causes you to deliberately make choices in reverence for God. ‘Oh, I can’t eat that because I am fasting’…I’ve done that 2 or 3 times already this year. Its an awareness of God’s thereness – as my pastor likes to say!
2. Fasting is an offering of my year. I want to honor God with my life, and sticking with the principle of giving…I want to give him the beginnings – the first fruits – of this 365 days. It feels like I should have been doing this every year of my life, but that didn’t happen, so we are doing the best with the time we have left! 🙂
3. I realize what I can live without. We live in a blessed nation, city, and state. Starbucks within 3 minutes, Walmart in 10, and I work most of the time from my house, and I don’t have to wear shoes if I don’t want to. Thats pretty amazing, and I take lots of my life for granted. We have (what seems like) stuff out the wazoo, and with an 8 year old, we have accumulated even more stuff! Fasting is like an intentional emptying of yourself to let God fill you up.
Fasting resources that have helped us:
Bill Bright’s writing on Fasting – This is an 11 part online series that was very helpful in getting us going. He writes mainly to those going on a hard fast (only water and juices), but the principles are still applicable.
Jentezen Franklin’s Website – Again, this website is very helpful with a scriptural basis for fasting. His book ‘Fasting: Opening the door to a deeper, more intimate, more powerful relationship with God‘ was also very insightful!
What do you do to honor God with your year?