As I write this I am on day 3 of a juice and water fast. My roommate is also cooking something that smells so delicious for her and her daughter. To say that I am leaning on God right now would be an understatement. This is my first real fast.
When I was younger my youth group would host something called a 40 hour famine. It was to support a charity organization where each kid would collect donations and then we would all have a sleepover at the church and drink only juice and water for 40 hours. To break our fast we would be served a small portion of rice and beans which signified the amount of food a child in poverty would receive once a day. All I remember about these events was I wanted to hang out with my friends and then I would ask my mom to take me to McDonalds after. Needless to say I wasn’t understanding the true purpose behind fasting.
At the beginning of every year Radius encourages us to fast, so last year I attempted the Daniel fast. The Daniel Fast consist of 3 days of water/juice and 18 days of fruit and vegetables only. However, once again I wasn’t understanding the purpose and gave up on day 10. I still felt God tugging on my heart that I needed to fast and I simply needed to research the why, how and when.
During the month of January, Radius Homes has been studying fasting. (If you are not part of a Radius Home I encourage you to find one here). We have been watching videos by Jentezen Franklin and using his fasting study guide. Week one covered pretty much every question I had about fasting. Here are a few things we learned.
- One must have a clear purpose for why you are fasting. What are you fasting for? Write it down!
- Set a specific duration for you fast, start and end date.
- You can fast so many things other than food, such as television, social media, negative words.
- Prepare spiritually prior to starting a fast asking God for guidance on the purpose and duration of your fast.
- Prepare physically for your fast by cutting back on caffeine, sweets and greasy foods a few days prior.
- How important fasting is in our spiritual life. As important as praying and giving.
After praying, I decided to commit to a 4 day fast giving up food, social media, television AND negative words (surprisingly the hardest part). I wrote down my commitment and purpose for fasting, then planned out my days to spend time in God’s word in the morning, on my lunch break and before bed. Yesterday I realized fasting makes me hungry for God’s word. It also convicted me that I should be hungry for His word all the time. As Pastor Blake said on Sunday, fasting helps us with patience and is a spiritual discipline that helps us focus on God and his truth. Jesus fasted for 40 days before he was tempted by the devil. To each temptation Jesus immediately responded with scripture (Luke 4:1-13). Pastor Blake also said “If God himself used The Word to battle the devil, how do we think we can fight without it?” Powerful, right!
Now, I have a confession to make, I may have spent more time in God’s word these last 3 days than I did last year. This doesn’t mean I am not looking forward to eating food or checking my Snapchats that have been building up… but I am also excited to continue being obedient to God by spending time with him, reading His Word and praying. And next time I start feeling my relationship with God is drifting I will fast again even if its only social media or television. The key is when we lose focus on God we must sacrifice something and direct our focus back on Him. In my experience, fasting is the best and quickest way to do this!