Monday, November 7, 2011

To Fast Or Not To Fast: That Is The Question

Fasting: verb (used without object)
1. to abstain from all food.
2. to eat only sparingly or of certain kinds of food, especially as a religious observance.

There is much confusion amongst christians about fasting. Are we supposed to fast? How do we fast?

The answers to these questions are in Matthew 6:16-18.

Jesus is speaking:
               "Moreover when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad face. For they disfigure
                 their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Surely, I say to you, they have their
                 reward. But you when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you do not
                 appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father
                 who sees in secret will reward you openly,"

Jesus said "When you fast..." This answers the first question. We are supposed to fast, but how? There are different types of fasts.

     1. Total Fast- Do not eat any food or drink any liquid. This is a short term fast that is usually no longer than 3 days in length. It is important to note that this type of fast should be conducted with caution and not on a regular basis.
     2. Water Only Fast- Do not eat any food and only drink water. This is the more popular type of fast. The length can be from 24 hours to 40 days.

     3. Liquid Only Fast- Do not eat any food. Drink any liquids including water, broth, pulp-free juices, etc. Length of the fast varies. This fast gives the self denial of a water only fast, but allows for more nutrients for the body from the liquids. This fast is preferred by people that have medical issues that do not allow a more restrictive fast.

     4. Certain Food Fast- Eat only certain foods or abstain from certain foods. Since foods and liquids are allowed this fast is usually longer in length, from 1 week to 6 weeks or more. I will give 2 examples of this type of fast.
                      Example 1: Daniel Fast- Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; drink only water and
                                          100% juices. Do not eat meat, white flour, sugar, dairy, or processed foods.
                                          Do not drink sodas, caffeinated drinks, or milk.

                       Example 2: Do not eat a chosen food for a designated period of time. Do not eat
                                           chocolate for 3 months. Do not eat meat for 30 days. It can be any food
                                           for any length of time.

     5. Fast From An Object Or Activity- Examples of this type of fast include television, Internet, sports, books, people, or any other thing that can be seen as a distraction from pursuing God. For any length of time.

The type of fast that you choose is between you and God. Spend time in prayer and the Lord will direct you as to which fast that He wants for you. He will also tell you how long the fast should be. Whichever fast that you do, remember this:

                              FASTING WITHOUT PRAYER IS ONLY DIETING

Increased prayer is essential for a successful fast. Time should be reserved during the fast that belongs only to God... without distractions. God wants to speak to your heart, reveal His plan for your life, and give you the desires of your heart! But there is a price to be paid for that kind of relationship with the Creator of the universe. Fasting and Prayer is that price. When you show God that you are serious about wanting more of Him, that is when He will respond!
                              Fasting is the denying of oneself to seek the heart of God

There are no excuses. Everyone can fast from something. Seek God, set a time, and FAST!!!
Your life will never be the same!!!

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