My Struggle With Fasting

Our small group got together last night and one thing we usually do when we’re together is talk about recent sermons. A few things came up, but one topic we deliberately focused on was Spiritual Disciplines. (Ray’s sermon from February 21) Tim conveniently had Ray’s notes because he does powerpoint on Sunday mornings, so we had cheat sheets for the things we didn’t remember accurately.

The discipline we spent time on was Fasting and we quickly realized that it’s a touchy subject. I have fasted in the past, when life seemed out of control and I needed God’s presence more than I needed life itself, but I haven’t done it lately. When you hear the word “fasting,” what thoughts come to your head? Does it mean you can’t eat and you must pray for a whole day? Depending on who you’ve learned from regarding this discipline, it can have negative connotations. “Oh forget it, I could never do that,” might then be part of your mind-set.

For me, I haven’t done it because I get lots of headaches and have trouble with dizziness when I don’t eat for a period of time. I feel guilty about it because there is this idea out there that says “this is the way you fast.” (By not eating) Well after last night’s discussion, I feel empowered to do something different. We got talking about different ways of fasting, because one of us is diabetic and sometimes you can’t skip meals. We talked about the reasons we fast – wanting to get closer to God, therefore sacrificing something to do so.

For me, it would be much more sacrificial to give up my computer for an extended period of time. I would free up time to spend with God, listening for His voice and focusing on prayer. This accomplishes the same goal but by a different avenue. Is it still fasting? Yes. So, I’m not going to get caught up in the method and wonder whether it’s the right one. It’s different for everybody. I feel a sense of freedom in discovering this and believe that God is with me on it. Let’s not be Pharisees! Jesus freed us from that a looooong time ago.

  1. June 1, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I agree with most of what is said here.

  2. June 1, 2010 at 11:36 am

    Have you struggled with fasting issues too, Jeff?

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