Saturday, May 2, 2009

Some FAST Thoughts…



**This is an excerpt from a post I wrote back in February…  Since Tammi has already discussed “normal” and “half” days, I thought I’d throw my hat in the ring.  Hope this helps someone!!**

For anyone else who may be new to fasting, or just doesn’t quite “get it”, I thought I would share a few thoughts from my lesson this week that have really provided some profound insight for me.

What is fasting?

Fasting is generally defined as “giving up” or “doing without” something… usually food.  Many people fast to loose weight, or break bad habits.  For the Christian, however, there is much deeper purpose.

What is the purpose of fasting?

According to John Piper, the purpose of fasting is to deprive our bodies of food, in order to increase our soul’s hunger for God.

The weakness of our hunger for God is not because He is unsavory, but because we keep ourselves stuffed with “other things”.  Perhaps, then, the denial of our stomach’s appetite for food might express, or even increase, or soul’s appetite for God. (A Hunger For God, p. 10)

The “other things” Piper  refers to in the quote above, are anything that we use to anesthetize ourselves against the pain and stresses of life.  Overindulging in food, sex, television, or materialism are all abuses of God’s good gifts to us.  These are all things given to us by God, and meant for our enjoyment…but not fulfillment!  God is our only true portion, and the one and only source for our soul’s satisfaction!

As Dee Brestin says, on page 45 of the Bible Study, “Christianity is not about denying God’s good gifts, but about enjoying them with thanksgiving, wisdom, and moderation---never allowing them to become objects of worship.”

The purpose of fasting is to make us HUNGRY for God.  So, we fast that we might worship God more deeply, and learn to depend on him COMPLETLEY.

I can honestly say that I have seen a huge difference in my prayer life, since I began the practice of fasting.  Our program calls for one “fast day” per week (usually on WednesdaysNow we fast on Fridays) in which we drink nothing but water from dinner one evening, to dinner the next.  In other words, since my fast day will be on Thursday this week (KISA and I were fasting for a specific purpose in the life of our church), after a moderate and healthy meal tonight, I will not eat anything until supper tomorrow night.  I will drink only water, and instead of eating food, I will seek my nourishment through prayer, and reading the Bible.  I cannot begin to describe the transformation that has taken place in my walk with Jesus because of this!! I am honestly learning to rely on Him more and more, rather than food, or my own sense of “control”, to guide me each day.  It’s so freeing!

The study also provides a daily intake of Psalm Meals, which I wrote about here, to help you through the day, and encourage you to seek your sustenance in God, and God alone.

Here is an example of one day’s Psalm Meals:

Early Morning ~ Psalm 119:145-152

Morning ~ Psalm 68

Midday ~ Psalm 87

Evening ~ Psalm 128


I don’t know about you, but I desire to be HUNGRY for God.  To truly know what it means to…

Taste and see that the LORD is good;
       blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Fear the LORD, you his saints,
       for those who fear him lack nothing

~ Psalm 34:8-9


ValleyGirl said...

I have to confess my fasting days don't look much different from any other day. I rarely manage to dig into The Word during the day because of kid noises and their distractions. Even talking to God is a challenge! At this point, I think I'm going to focus on getting used to going without food and once my li'l Fidget start school in fall, I can adjust my fasting days to be ones where she's in school all day. Then I'll really be able to devote myself to the reading and listening aspects.

ValleyGirl said...

(Oooo, that sounds a lot like I'm just putting it off, doesn't it?!)