I believe that every Christian who wants to lead a praiseworthy life must have a disciplined life; a life that is mainly marked by prayer, reading and meditating the Word of God and fasting.
Well, when it comes to prayer and reading and meditating the Word of God, I think I’m okay. But when it comes to fasting, well, that is a different story. If I was graded on fasting, I will get, without any question, straight F.
It is my genuine desire to fast. The longest I fasted throughout my Christian life is 48 hours. I know some of you out there may laugh at me but that was the longest I fasted so far and that was almost 10 years ago.
I know many people who fast more than 21 days with only water and orange juice. For some of my dearest friends, fasting is part of their everyday life. And I believe that fasting should be part of any Christian person.
But for me, it is becoming a struggle to fast even for a day. The thing is I get this serious migraine headaches whenever I try to stay away from food and to tell you the truth I hate migraine headaches with “passion”. I hate it! It is just debilitating sickness. After I tried to fast many times, I settled on avoiding fasting at any cost.
But recently I noticed that I needed to fast and pray to seek God’s direction on my ministry. I sometimes have no clue as to what to do next or where to go or where not to go.
In one incident, I wanted to receive direction from God about something. I prayed and prayed and prayed but it seemed like the connection line was cluttered. I heard nothing from God. I opened the Bible and read and read and read and didn’t seem to find any direction.
So, I read one online magazine I ran into by accident about different ways of fasting. My dear, my background religion is Greek Orthodox and in Orthodox religion, you fast means, nothing goes to your mouth. Duh, Jesus fasted like that. It is written. So, that was the only way I thought there was when fasting was concerned. I never knew there existed different ways of fasting.
This man was writing saying that we can fast from TV, or coffee or some kind of tradition like eating pizza on weekends, or from watching any movie for a month or so. First, I thought the idea was crabby. I am like this man is telling us to be more complacence than we already are. This society doesn’t need this kind of teaching. We need someone to show us how to fast forty days as Jesus did.
But I wanted to finish what the writer had to say.
Well, he said that we have to start from little and work our way up to forty days fasting. Well, I loved it.
So like two or three months ago I remembered that article and I said, “I will fast from sweet”. I know you may think that it is easy to do that but for me, eating sweet is the highlight of my day. When I say sweet, don’t think like cookie, cake or ice cream. No, no, no! I don’t go there. I have enough pounds to carry with me.
I already told you that I can’t resist the temptation of dark chocolate with coco. Yes, that is my weakest point when it comes to diet. I eat my lunch with excitement just so that I will finish it up with dark chocolate.
So, I said, okay, I let that go for a week. I completely forgot that I tend to chew gum. So, I said, “Okay, gum too”. I also forgot that I tend to drink apple cider once in a while. So, I said “That too”. I rarely drink soda so “Fasting from soda is not a big deal “, I thought.
The thing is within that one week, I can’t tell you how many times I was tempted to drink soda. Yes, soda. I thought about Coke more than I thought about anything. I mean, for crying out loud, I don’t drink Coke.
Starting July 10, our church senior pastor declared a 21 days fasting and praying so that we seek the glory of God. I wanted to be part of this fasting. So, I said, “Okay, I will fast from sweet again.”
Yesterday, I went with my daughter to shopping because she wanted to buy the same skirt her friend bought for summer. So, to buy one tiny skirt, I stood at the fitting room for almost 20 minutes. Well, that is not big deal since I make her stand there for more than 20 minutes too. So, I was waiting for her there, commenting on each skirt she was trying.
It was the most painful 20 minutes ever in my life. Not because my daughter tried 500 skirts to buy one but because the lady who worked at that station was sitting right in front of me, eating guess what? Well, it was not dark chocolate but Starburst.
I don’t care about any candy but starburst? I love them. I can just open the pack and eat and eat and eat. They taste healthy. And I love how they taste. The woman took one out and opened the cover and ate it. And she opened another one and ate it. I said to myself, “I hope that is the last one.”
Nope! She opened another one. When she got to the fourth piece, I began salivating for one. I am not kidding here. So, I calmed myself down by saying, “You will buy one on your way out. It is just $3.”
Then I remember that I was fasting from sweet. Then right there at the fitting room, I prayed for the glory of God. I sought the face of God. I prayed to God saying “I want to know You, LORD.”
Yes, I don’t fast to go to heaven but because I am going to heaven. I fast so that I know God and His Will.
I’m learning now that what I am fasting or staying away from is irrelevant. What is important is for me to stay away from something I want to have so that I will be reminded to communion with God in prayer and worship.
On normal days, it is very unlikely for me to stand in front of a fitting room and pray. But yesterday I did pray standing at that fitting room because I was fasting from that Starburst candy which was waving and winking at me.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, like me, you may have health issue which prevents you from fasting; or the idea of fasting might scary you off. The idea of having empty stomach while everybody around you enjoys the food might be something you don’t want to find yourself in. But I don’t think God is after our empty stomach but He is after our devoted heart which seeks His Will.
If you are like me, away from fasting for a long time for whatever reason, try this kind of fasting. What is the highlight of your day? What do you enjoy and love to eat or drink or do? Fast from them for a short period of time just so you seek the face of God, so you grow in knowing Him and His Wills. I’m sure you will be very happy you did once you see the spiritual benefit you reap from the experience. Yes, sometimes fasting is the only way to break that strong bondage which holds us down for years. So, try it! And maybe, maybe one day, we all might be able to fast for 40 days as if nobody’s business. ///