Fasting. It’s not often talked about. Who really wants to? I mean, most of us aren’t motivated to practice this not-so-attractive discipline of the Christian faith. Who wants to be hungry all day….or all week?! But, when we focus only on the sacrifice of the practice, we miss the benefits altogether. In other words, if you never fast because it will make you uncomfortable, you will miss the revelations that God seems to make so clear when you are focused solely on Him. Let me use an experience I had from an earlier fast.
So, I was completing a 3 day fast. As I neared the finish line, I began to let my mind wander to tastes and smells of some of my favorite foods. I really wanted a huge plate of nachos – complete with beef, jalapeno, black beans, salsa, tomatoes, cilantro, and dripping with melted cheese. Oh, and some sour cream and guac. My stomach told me it could take it…that no amount was too big….that no food was off-limits. But, I know that sometimes my stomach lies to me and tricks me into eating things that I pay for later. But, that’s another post for another day. Or, not. On this day, my wiser self prevailed, and I opted for a lighter meal instead.
The experience got me thinking. What about our spiritual lives? Could we be overeating all the cool things the world has to offer, like entertainment, gadgets, and social networking, and not realize that we have completely over-stuffed ourselves? I wondered if we fasted from tv, movies, FB, Twitter, cell phones, games, and activities, and simply lived a few days in peace and quiet would we discover that a little of all that stuff goes a long way?
Our restless spirits – along with all those influential marketing campaigns – convince us we need one more thing, when really, we don’t. Sometimes, less IS more. Sometimes, less is better. Just like gorging myself on a plate of greasy nachos after fasting for several days may harm me, so might indulging in an over-busy life style. I might get so busy with all the trappings of this world that I miss the things that are most dear to me – my God, my family, and my health. (Maybe God knew what He was doing when He commanded us to REST on the Sabbath. ;))
Now, would I have learned that lesson without fasting? Maybe. But, the lesson was personalized for me….it was my experience….my revelation. And, because of that, I won’t forget it. I’ve learned other things through fasting, too. Each experience brings new lessons for me.
Has God revealed things to you during a fast? Give fasting a shot. Maybe He’s waiting to get your full attention to whisper His secrets to you. The benefits will far outweigh the sacrifice.