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Why Should You Fast?

Have you ever wondered why you should fast? Is it really necessary? What's the big deal, anyway? We're in the season of Lent right now, so you may hear more people talk about fasting than usual. If you haven't heard of it, you're not alone. I grew up in church and had no memory of Lent until I was an adult. If you haven't heard of it, it's the season before Easter when the church traditionally calls on Christians to reflect upon Christ's sacrifice on the cross (approximately six weeks). Fasting is often a part of Lent as a way to join Christ in the fellowship of His suffering. We break our fast on Easter as a way to celebrate Christ's resurrection and the promise of everlasting life and forgiveness of sins.

When Jesus was on earth, His disciples didn't fast because "the bridegroom" was present with them. Now that Jesus isn't physically present with us, we fast so we can enter into that close relationship with Him, just like He is physically present. The Bible doesn't say IF you fast, but WHEN. Fasting is not optional. It's also not a way to manipulate God into doing what you want Him to do. It's not a formula, but a relationship.

matthew 6:16-18
Also, check out Isaiah 58 for fasting help

It's an act of obedience, and it reminds your body who The Comforter is. Your comfort is not to be received from food, but from the Holy Spirit.

The only way I have found to fast with any success is to dig deep into my relationship with Jesus. I'm capable of white-knuckling it through not eating for a time, but if I try to fast out of obligation, or because I want something from God, I cannot maintain it. The only way I've found to successfully complete a fast is to get my eyes on Jesus and not take them off.

Hunger must drive you back into your relationship with Him, or it will drive you straight into a taco. And a cookie.

Fasting is not to be done when you're in times of celebrations. The Christmas season is a terrible time to try to fast. Knowing this, I stopped my usual practice of fasting in December. The problem was, my body got totally dis-regulated with holiday travel and feasting. I tried to do a 7-day Daniel fast in January, thinking that would help jump-start me back into the habit. That did NOT work. It made me physically ill, causing me to remember why I eat animal protein at every meal. I'm not a teenage boy like Daniel, but a middle-aged woman with blood sugar issues!

Fasting is likely to make you uncomfortable, but it shouldn't make you miserably sick. If that happens, it's time to prayerfully re-assess and try something different.

Support during a fast is important. Have a book or devotional reading related to the Holy Spirit or fasting to dive into during the fast. Maybe create a worship play list to help focus your mind if you get off track. As a friend to pray for you. Think through what you can do ahead of time so you're prepared.

When you fast, you teach your body not to rely on the comfort of food. You train yourself not to allow your belly to become your god. When you start to feel weak and hungry, you focus your mind on Jesus and He gives you strength. I also suggest fasting from media on those days, keeping your attention on Jesus, even though it's uncomfortable.

This act of focusing on your relationship with Christ, turning to Him for comfort and love, puts you into fellowship with Christ. When you walk closely with Christ, you understand His heart, and you become His ambassador. You can do things on His behalf. You don't have to beg Him to do things for you or others. You can do them yourself, understanding that it's His power and authority you operate under.

That's when you see real change in the spirit-realm.

The act of not eating doesn't give you spiritual authority. The time you spend focused on the Lord in prayer, bringing your body under submission, in tune to the God of the Universe - that's what changes things. That's why you should fast.

pink and yellow
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