22 Feb Simple Tips for Fasting
Fasting I promise is one of the most difficult spiritual exercise there is. At least I think so. Personally, I really don’t eat so much. I could go a whole day and eat just once or I could have a light meal at midday and that’s it for the rest of the day BUT! The day I set out a day for fasting, it seems as though I have set myself up for trouble. The hunger will make a conscious decision to wake me up very early in the morning and remind me of its presence throughout the day. It’s horrible isn’t it? I know we can all relate to the various temptations that come with fasting. Anyway, when God recommended fasting he never intended for it to be ‘sweet’ but not bitter either. Here are some few things about fasting that we can always remember. It helps me stay on track.
Don’t be hard on yourself: The reason why sometimes fasting appears so difficult is that we are sometimes hard on ourselves. We set rules and heavy restrictions. Some of which includes but not limited to: an endless debate on whether or not we can drink water during fast, length of fast, number of times to pray or study the bible. We think that the length of time determines the result but that’s really not true. God is interested in the quality of time spent with him than in the quantity. Don’t set a standard even you will struggle to meet. If you want to increase your fasting time then as wisdom applies, do so gradually. Remember that as much as you are a spiritual being, you are also a physical being and all natural rules of progression apply to you. I remember when I got to my late teens and just didn’t want to do the 6am to 12noon fast anymore. I wanted so much to grow so I took it slow. I did adjust my time gradually from 12noon to 3pm until much later I began fasting for longer. Do not punish yourself. Fasting is not penance. Fasting is bonding time with God.
Fast with a purpose: Honestly, having a reason to fast makes it easier to do so. When you have a goal, it keeps you on track. Your goal doesn’t have to be a mountain breaking goal, even something as simple as desiring to build a better relationship with God is goal enough. I know people fast for health, loved ones, problems and all that. But you don’t have to only on those occasions. You can fast because you simply need to spend time with God especially if you feel guilty for not dedicating enough time. Fasting can be a good way to condition yourself to settle down and quit the procrastination because then your spirit gets the idea that you are on a serious mission so it sobers up. All the times I fasted for nothing accounted for my most failed fasting moments. It resulted to emptiness and just general anger at the end of the fasting time. I felt I had wasted my time and skipped my meals for nothing. I felt unachieved at the end of the day. So have a reason when you come before God. It always helps plus it’s a good guide for planning your bible readings and structuring your prayers. It gives it more direction. I’ll advice you do not fast randomly because it is a serious spiritual activity and not some casual skip-around program.
Living fasted: In the middle of all the fasting activities, remember the key issue. God is interested primarily in how you live your life and not in your one day or few hours conduct. Living a fasted life is the real fast and not your abstinence program. God wants the circumcision of the heart. He is more interested in how the fasting has transformed your inner man and how those around you are benefiting from the secret meetings with him. Remember what he told the woman at the well in John 4:23-24, when he explained in simple terms what God spends his time looking for in a believer. He wants truth and spiritual depth and not some few hours communion. This is the same standard he used for David when he was to be anointed as king. God was clear to Samuel on the standard operation mode. He is not particular about the outward activities but on weightier matters (1 Sam 16:7). So basically, he wants a person whose life reflects his true position with God. He desires a person who maintains spiritual sensitivity at all times and not just only in periods of fast.
In conclusion, it should be understood that fasting is not God’s way of meting out punishment on us and that’s why there are no strict modes of it. Decisions and methods of practice are often left to us with the bible as a guiding principle. It is encouraged that we fast as Christians as it has the power to connect us to a deeper realm with God. Jesus in his teachings spoke of fasting and set himself as an example of a fasted life. Fasting sure has many benefits but of all the benefits, the most important one is that it strengthens our relationship with God.