Monday, February 13, 2006
Spiritual Disciplines: Fasting
Well, someone suggested that I bring up the issues of spiritual disciplines. So today, I was a buffet...and got to some seriously thinking...about food and weight and fasting. But does food or fasting have anything to do with my spirituality? I think so....
Fasting is a voluntary withdrawing from food and/or drink, or other fleshly appetite, for a specified period of time. The three most basic types of fasting mentioned in the Bible are:
The first mention of a fast in scripture is Exodus 34:28 where Moses received the 10 Commandments. Jesus also, began His earthly ministry with prayer and fasting.Though fasting is never commanded, Jesus assumed that the disciples would want to in order to see great things happen! But it’s not something a Christian has to do, but can choose to do…there are not many guidelines given in scripture about fasting, either!A Normal fast is no food, only liquids like water, juice, etc…it can last for 1 day (Judges 20:26—1 day fast) and personally, that’s a good place to start!
The Partial Fast
In the partial fast you omit certain foods for a while, but not others. Daniel and 3 other Hebrews did a partial fast, and at the end were stronger and healthier than those eating what they wanted. Elijah did this on 2 occasions as well.
The Absolute Fast
Moses went on this kind for 40 days, nothing enters your mouth at all…can be done only for a very short time…consult a Doctor.!
The Purpose of fasting:
Fasting is a way to seek God by denying the physical in order to focus on the spiritual……for this reason prayer and fasting must always go together (or it does you no good spiritually!) Of course, there are physical benefits: medical doctor’s are discovering more and more benefits to fasting…because the body is designed to heal itself on a cellular level…as we eat and take in various toxins, processed foods, medicines, etc., we hold a certain amount of poisons in our cells…but when we fast many of those things are flushed out of our system!
But if you want a spiritual benefit, make sure and take the time you would have in eating and transfer it to prayer time!
II Chronicles 20: 3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
Ezra 8: 23 So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.
1 Corinthians 7 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. Another point made by this verse is that when we fast it ought to be from ALL physical desires, not just food! Let go of the physical, focus on the spiritual!
So, do you fast? Why or why not? Thoughts?
Posted by SoulPastor at 7:55 PM