Lent is a time to remember. To remember how Jesus lived and how He died, why He came and what that means for us as a body of believers; as His bride.
Fasting as a spiritual discipline has lost its popularity and practice over the years, but is founded in biblical teachings as far back as the beginning of the Old Testament. Prophets of old used this practice to further develop their relationship with their creator and to experience profound transformation through humbling themselves before God and allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal their true spiritual condition.
This opportunity is available to us too, as believers, through the practice of fasting. When implementing this discipline, prayers have been answered as well as questions of the spirit through the repentant heart of the fast-er, and lives have been changed.
Over time, we have become a self-obsessed people, dispelling the notion that we should ever deprive ourselves of anything we desire including food, entertainment, clothing or the latest technology. Our “gimme” society is so accustomed to having it all; that the notion of doing without is the farthest thing from our minds… it is time to change that.
Have you asked yourself what is keeping you from a deeper relationship with God? Possibly, there is a part of your life that you have worked to reform, with little success, a habit that you can’t seem to let go of, or a discipline that you have tried to learn but continually seems to escape you. Discouragement can be devastating to your resolve and your strength wanes with each moment of perceived failure. Fasting done as a spiritual discipline could be your answer.
The practice of fasting separates you from an inner desire, denying the body of what connects it to the world and therefore separates you from your father. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
There are a lot of action words in that sentence. Not only are we to pray, repent and look for God, but also humble ourselves. How do we do that?
King David humbled himself through fasting (Psalms 35:13); Moses fasted at least twice for 40 days each as did Jesus and He then instructed His followers, “but when you fast, put oil on your heads and wash your face.” You notice that He said when not if. In Jewish culture, fasting was expected along with prayer, especially when a reformation of the people was needed. The people would dress in sackcloth, put ashes on their heads and fast until their situation was changed. This action showed God a humble heart, the sorrow of the people and a desire to change. We are still living in biblical times(we have not yet experienced the second coming)…fasting, therefore, is still necessary and expected. Change can happen with the right heart and the right petition.
Fasting today can have the same effect for change, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be done in the same way. The point is to deny yourself…make a sacrifice. There are numerous ways that this can be accomplished.
· a partial fast (like the Daniel Fast, or from a meal 1-2 times a week, possibly just a dessert or treat that you like)
· A full food fast (water only – check with your doctor before doing this please and only undertake this if you know that it is the will of God)
· a media fast (facebook, twitter, computer activities, phone texting)
· an entertainment fast (movies, tv, video games)
· a music fast (from secular music primarily)
These are the things that, today, separate us from having a more intimate relationship with our Father. They are worldly influences that threaten to replace God in our hearts and time,
I think that it would be valuable for most people to experience all of these options as the majority of us today indulge in most of these activities, and spending a period of time in denial of them, will be beneficial in discovering which truly present a problem for us. We all have different trouble areas, and some could be problematic and we aren’t even aware of it.
I propose that during the 40 days of lent (that is Monday through Saturday, Sunday being your day of rest from the fast) we devote ourselves to (4) 10-day periods, fasting from a different aspect of worldliness each period, and placing that concentration on God himself. The results could be astounding, life altering even. God desires this, but it is up to us to take the first step.
I have been doing some research lately, on this subject and would love to have you participate if you are willing. If you would like to participate in the research, I have a link below for you to follow to download a 40 day guide to journal in while fasting your way through lent. At the end of your fast, if you could simply email the journals back to me so that I can review the results for an upcoming book on media fasting, I would be very grateful. If you do not wish to share your journals, I understand and would love for you to participate anyway. Feel free to download the journal for your personal use. Consider sending me a simple message about how your fast went and how it enriched your relationship with God. Also, I welcome comments or suggestions about the fast itself.
Regardless of how you decide to spend your Lenten time, I pray that it includes thoughts of our Savior and leads to a deeper and more spiritual relationship with Him.
Reflect His Light!
Download The Fasting Journal ~ fasting journal 2013