Fasting in 2013
But when you fast… — Matthew 6:16
It’s hard to believe Christmas has come and gone…again. I heard a 4th grader pray over Christmas dinner and say in her prayer “this year has gone by so fast.” I don’t know about you, but I remember time going by slowly when I was in school. I felt like I would never get out of there. The years seemed to take forever. Not so today…we just celebrated our 6th Christmas with my little girl, and my 4th with my little boy. Time has seemed to hit some sort of warp speed.
I believe there are two types of Christian. The first type simply wants salvation from Hell. They fit perfectly into our American society that screams “give me something for doing absolutely nothing.” Let me say a prayer, get my forgiveness, live life the way I want, and I’ll see you in Heaven. I know this type well because I was this type for several years. These are possibly the most harmful people on the planet. They claim to know Christ, yet people who are not Christians watch them and think “why in the world would I want to be a Christian? They are no different than me. Christ makes NO DIFFERENCE in a person’s life. They cuss like me, get mad and fly off the handle like me, get drunk like me, hate other people like me, ditch church like me, don’t give like me, and don’t make an attempt to read the Bible much less live it…like me.”
Then, there are Christians who make a difference. When I met the first few “real deal” Christians, I immediately wanted the Christianity they had. It was a whole lot different than the Christianity I had. They had peace. They had joy. They could hit bad golf shots and not cuss or even get angry. They could have someone cut them off in traffic only to go 10 miles an hour and they didn’t seem the least bit upset. They could get in a mile long line at Target and make no complaints. They didn’t have to go to church, they loved going to church. They knew their Bible. In fact, they had read it several times and planned on reading it several times more…and liked it. How in the world could I get what they had? I wanted it!
The answer is what I like to think of as fasting. True fasting is going without food, period. But, most Christians are not ready for that at all. The words of Jesus are the bread of life, and far too many people who claim to be Christians are going without it. The reason we behave like the world is that we are constantly feeding ourselves with the same things that the world feeds on. Once again, we listen to the same music, read the same books, and watch the same TV shows and movies. If anything in you wants more of God…you need to go on a fast. I am simply going to throw out a couple of suggestions. Decide what is right for you, set the time and go for it!
1. Most of the people in our church do Daniel’s Fast from Daniel 10:2. No bread, no meats, no sweets, and drink only water for 21 days. For me, it is difficult…especially the first week. If you’ve never done it before, don’t get bogged down in specifics, just decide what fruits, vegetables and beans you can tolerate for 3 weeks and go for it. If 3 weeks sounds too rough, go to 2 weeks or even 1 week. When I’m doing this I stay hungry and am never satisfied physically. But that hunger reminds me that I’m doing this for the Lord which in turn keeps my mind constantly on Him. I am in such good tune with Him. If you told me “I got saved today” right now I would say “that is GREAT” and I would mean it. But, if you told me that while I’m fasting, at some point I would probably break down and cry because the goodness of God would just overwhelm me. It just makes your spirit super-sensitive to Him…a very nice place to be!
2. If you don’t spend time reading the Bible and praying, you need to start. Turn the TV off, shut down the computer, hide the iPad, turn the cell phone off, basically get away from media. When you find yourself gravitating toward it, go to your Bible, go to your knees in prayer, but fill your mind with as much God as possible. If you are a music junkie, you can still listen to music, but it can only be music that glorifies and honors the Lord. You might even put some sermons on there and listen to them. The idea is to fill your mind with as much God as possible. Set the time period. I suggest 21 days.
I couldn’t even begin to tell you how God has changed me through this practice of fasting at the beginning of every year. I know it will change you as well. Set the dates and go for it. Get 2013 started off right!