Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fasting

Truth be told, I hate the idea of fasting. I've never been good at it and I love the idea that I can just open the fridge and relieve that hunger pain. Unfortunately, God has directed Christians to Fast, so I'm going to spend 2011 learning about the art and trying to master it the best I can. The few times I have fasted I've been so grouchy and irritable that I didn't even want to be around myself.  From what I've  read, fasting brings to light all the sin issues in your heart and allows you power and freedom to work through them. I guess running from what I don't want to do would be sin in itself. So in 2011 I'll be working on this goal,  I can't say I'm excited about it but I know the Lord will honor my feeble attempt at obedience by revealing those things that control me and allow balance to reign in my life.

From Richard Foster's Book Celebration of Disciplines - regarding Fasting:

The Purpose of Fasting
Fasting must center on God. It should draw us closer to God, where we will experience a deeper relationship with Him. Like Anna, in Luke 2:37, we should be “worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.”
Fasting reveals the things that control us. We tend to cover up what is inside us with food and other good things, but in fasting these things surface. If pride controls us, it will be revealed almost immediately. David said,“I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting.” (Psalm 35:13) Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear - if they are within us, they will surface during fasting. At first we will rationalize that our anger, for example, is due to our hunger. We will then discover that we are angry not because of hunger, but because the spirit of anger is within us. We can rejoice in this knowledge because we know that healing is available through the power of Christ. 
Fasting helps us keep our balance in life. How easily we begin to allow nonessentials to take precedence in our lives. How quickly we crave things we do not need until we are enslaved by them. Paul wrote, “Everything is permissible for me"--but I will not be mastered by anything.” (I Cor. 6:12) “No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (I Cor. 9:27) David wrote, “My knees give way from fasting; my body is thin and gaunt.” (Psalm 109:24) That is not asceticism; it is a discipline - and discipline brings freedom.

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