Christians fast with a purpose, with a goal as their focus, with an end in mind. This fasting usually involves abstaining from something specific such as food, drink, specific foods or drinks, social media outlets, forms of technology, television, specific activities, variations of all of these, and even others. The very nature of spiritual fasting is to give up something that often takes up a lot of our focus, our time, even our energy, and our efforts. This focus, time, energy, and effort is then given to God and poured into our interactions and invested in our relationship with Him seeking to please and satisfy Him. The time that would ordinarily be spent on watching television or on social media outlets is now focused on pleasing God.
Fasting accomplishes what we cannot do on our own with our human efforts. It grounds us, slowing us down where we would ordinarily continue our path of normal, regular, routine, and ordinary. We now have something telling us how, when, where, and how to listen for God’s voice and to His voice so that we may enhance our relationship and intimacy with Him. These efforts lead us, rejuvenate our spirits, and provide clarity in the midst of calamity.
Fasting provides an opportunity for a revelation of God’s Word if we are in a posture conducive to learning, improving, and growing in our knowledge and experience of Him. Our spiritual development then becomes what we invest in our fast. If we invest heavily then we gain heavily and vice versa. Fasting requires discipline which in turns increases our discipline. Fasting requires us to seek God’s support and to admit that we are unable to achieve the same success on our own as we do with the combination of fasting and praying.
The Bible identifies fasting as a part of our Christian and spiritual growth and offers suggestions on increasing our intimacy with God and the whys and how’s of fasting in itself. In the Book of Ezra in Chapter 8, verses 21-23, Ezra declares a fast to find out from God the best route for travel for both the adults and the children. Ezra and his people were fearful of their enemies, but God protected all of Ezra and the people on their journey to Jerusalem.
Fasting works when we identify and exercise some basic principles such as inviting the Holy Spirit to do as He has promised: asking Him to lead and guide us and reveal to us His purpose in our lives and our role in this time of fasting and prayer. This time of consecration can include prayer, fasting, using a journal, reading the Bible, meditation, attending church services, singing, clapping, dancing, and various other ways that we choose to demonstrate our commitment to God. Christian fasting expresses a longing, a thirst, and a hunger for God’s presence for true transformation of our individual spirituality through our thoughts and actions as well as the changes seen in our lives and daily interactions with others.
Contributor: E. Taylor