The Practice of Daily Fasting
I believe that the discipline of spiritual daily fasting can be the antidote to self-centeredness.
I was reminded this week of a quote by a well known pastor in Southern California, Rick Warren;
“This is true humility, not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.”
I am finding it more and more obvious, that when I am sad, lonely, hopeless, frustrated, discouraged or experience any other negative emotions, I am thinking of myself!
My focus has gone off of God and onto myself. So, what can I do?
The antidote for thinking of myself less is to think of God more! I cannot think of a better way to think of God more than when I have purposefully committed to going without food!
I do not know about you but when I get up in the morning I am thinking about two main things, coffee and food! I would love to tell you that I am so spiritually mature, that my first thought in the morning is God and I am all pumped to sit and spend time with Him.
Truth is, I need DISCIPLINE! This is the very reason we are focusing on practicing daily DISCIPLINES. We are by nature, selfish, and in order to develop a character like Christ, we must develop disciplines that create in us a Christ-like character.
Jesus Himself fasted to keep His focus on God and off of the distractions and temptations around Him.
“After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Matthew 4:2-3
I think verse 2 may be the greatest understatement in the history of the world,
“HE WAS HUNGRY!” As my daughter would say, “Thank you Captain Obvious!”
But because He is Jesus, He answers with complete focus and discipline.
“Jesus answered, “It is written; Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
If we want to be more like Jesus than I believe it is important to continue developing Daily Disciplines that emulate the character of Jesus.
I am not saying that we have to fast for 40 days! That actually would not work as a daily discipline. Eventually, we would need to eat or we would die! That is the way God created our bodies. It is possible however, to develop a daily time when you purposefully go without food in order to turn your focus toward God.
I realize most of you have heard of INTERMITTENT FASTING, it can be a healthy way to manage your weight. I am not talking about that! That is a practice for your physical health. The FASTING I am talking about is a time each and every day, that you go without food in order to focus on God.
For example, because I have already committed myself to Disciplines 1, 2, and 3, I am going to add discipline #4, and set the first two hours I get up each day to fast, to go without any food.
This means I am disciplining myself to #1) Pray and acknowledge my need for God, #2) Read God’s Word, #3) MOVE, and #4) FAST for the first two hours of each day!
You may have a medical need to have food as soon as you wake up. You may be able to go without food for a longer stretch of time. You may focus on your time alone with God at your lunch time and want to FAST then. Maybe you prefer to end your day praying and reading God’s Word and you choose to FAST from 6:00 or 7:00 in the evening until you get up the next morning. There is no right or wrong way to practice this discipline. You may find any time of the day or amount of time in your day to FAST from food and focus on God.
Does it have to be food? No, it really does not. But food is typically something we all enjoy, look forward to and notice if we are not partaking of it. Therefore, for me, it is the perfect discipline to choose to FAST from!
THE DISCIPLINE OF FASTING HELPS DEVELOP A CHRIST-LIKE CHARACTER IN US.
MY COMMITMENT TO “SUMMER STEPIN,” DEVELOPING DAILY DISCIPLINES, IS TO TAKE THIS SUMMER AND DEVELOP DISCIPLINES THAT WILL MAKE ME MORE LIKE JESUS.
It is not easy, but so very worth it!
Speak Truth Love