Is Fasting Important?

I’ve noticed that within my circle of influence there’s been a lot of talk about fasting lately.  Seems to be a good time to talk about hamburgers, pizza, french fries…JUST KIDDING, that would be horrible.

Why is fasting so important though?

I can honestly say that until last year I never had a full grasp on what fasting was, nor did I even realize it meant actually fasting from food.  I grew up in a Catholic home so the most knowledge I had on the subject was that I had to give something up during Lent.  Did I?  Nine times out of ten I didn’t.  Now I’m not blaming this on my family, or even my Church for that matter.  I guess at that point in my life I didn’t want to really “go deeper” in my spirituality, nor did I really even care about God. That’s a WHOLE other blog post though.

Biblically speaking fasting should be abstaining from the intake of food for a set period of time and utilizing that time for interaction with God.

Fasting should be a spiritual staple that we all practice.  I’ll be honest that I was extremely skeptical when people would say “Oh man, I had a major eye opening experience with God when I fasted!” Oh yeah? Sounds to me like you were just starving and delusional!  I WAS WRONG.

Last year when I had my surgery to remove the melanoma on my side I clearly heard God telling me “fast now.”  At first I wanted to say “God, are you serious?  Fasting right after surgery?  That’s not a good idea…”  Yeah that’s right, I questioned Him as I sadly so often do.  Regardless, I trusted what I believed God was telling me and went for it.

In a nutshell after that experience I was no longer skeptical.  I read through Awakening by Stovall Weems my first fast.  This was a book that was used when my old Church highly promoted when they did corporate fasting so I figured I would read along and give it a shot.  I won’t go into specifics but if you read the description you get a day by day breakdown of what your body is going through, why we fast, etc.  Another book I was turned on to (but have yet to read for myself) is Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough.

Fasting isn’t merely “giving up” something.  If anything we are gaining something.  A practical way to look at it is that we’re utilizing the time that we would be worrying about or preparing food and really give that to God.  Studying His word, praying to Him, etc.  Spiritually we are gaining His favor and it’s a great practice in humility.

The subject of humility is referenced multiple times in scripture but we truly believe that by giving up the food of man we are in turn going to be generously given the food of the Holy Spirit, or manna from Heaven, in return.  This is not from a state of greed, but we are humbling ourselves before God and faithfully knowing He will return with love and affection.  We show Him we love Him by saying we need not the things of this Earth but only what He provides, and oh boy does He provide during a fast.

Plus it’s not a bad way to detox your body!  

Biologically your body is going through a lot of changes during this process.  The detoxification alone allows your mind to be clearer and, in turn, allows us to direct our focus to more important things.

There are multiple sites to tell you how to fast but one thing that is highly evident is that the Bible says we’re not supposed to brag about it.  In fact, we really shouldn’t speak about it at all while we are fasting.

It can be used as a great witnessing tool.  But, be sure you’re not openly divulging the fact that you are fasting.  This is something strictly between you and God.  That itself is such an intimate statement:  “Between you and God.”  It’s from Him and for Him we do this so keep it between you two.

We fast because we love Him.   What’s so beautiful about the relationship we have with God is that no matter how much we give Him and sacrifice of ourselves, He multiplies it more than we could ever imagine and has already made the ultimate sacrifice for us.

That being said, I hope some of you can have the opportunity to try it out.  I was skeptical at first until I tried and I can honestly say I have never been closer to God than when I was fasting.  You can be skeptical all you want, but I would highly encourage you to at least attempt a fasting plan that’s over 1 week.  Start small and work your way up and make sure you read up carefully before you do fast.  Prepare your body properly to go into and come out of it!  Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

Good Luck…

Cheeseburger

A few fasting references:

Matthew 6:16-18

Isaiah 58:3-7

Daniel’s Fast:  Daniel 10:3

Religion VS Relationship

I’m unsure if it’s just me, but lately I’ve seen the subject of “Religion” VS a concept of the pure “Relationship with Christ” debate.

Given that this has been a source of much interest for me lately I was happy to see this post appear today from churchleaders.com.

Shortly after seeing the post I shared a link to it with Facebook friends.  To my delight there was an opposing view to my personal take on the subject which I’d like to touch on today to get your input on.

First I would highly encourage you to check out Dictionary.com’s definitions of RELIGION and RELIGIOUS.  Keep those in mind as you read on.

It’s difficult to tell if people are referring to different denominations when the subject of religion is brought about or whether it’s slander against religion as a whole. It has become too normal to bash religion when, in fact, religion is sort of like a map that guides us to believe what we believe as we progress deeper into our respective faith groups. Denominationally speaking, yes some are focused on good versus bad, karma, multiple gods, etc., but without religion as a whole there is no guidance. One can’t simply say “Well I think this is what Jesus would do” if they have no reference of what He did. That, in turn, is where religion comes in. The religion of Jesus Christ and His teachings, in the Christian Church body, is our guidance for that. If anything I would have to argue that there is a “rule book” we do religiously follow…The Bible

I’ll be the first person to tell you I had no idea what God’s view on certain things in my life were, sin wise. I had no idea that some of the things I was doing that were so casual were actually sins in His eyes. There’s no way I would have found this out without going to some sort of organized religious worship center or doing research through the scripture. I think all of us have experienced that when we’ve come upon something and said “Wait…that’s a sin?!”  Believe it or not, we’ve all got a lot of learning to do on God’s word regardless of what level we may be at, new and seasoned believers alike.  If it comes to the point that you’re no longer growing then you may want to take an inward look on why that is. 

All that being said, I feel people are taking the term “Religion“, or even “Religious” far out of context and failing to see that following Christ, or any other deity for that matter in other applicable circumstances, is a religion in itself. I would, by both referencing the aforementioned definition of “religion” and “religious”, and through personal studies and exploration, go as far as to say without religion we would have had no foundation for what was soon to be our relationship with Christ after discovering it for the first time and that those are easily interchangeable meaning that one inevitably leads to the other.

I appreciated the challenge from my friend to make me to go deeper as it was a good way today to get me even more fired up for how thankful I am that Christ gave us this ability to love Him, His Church, AND His religious teachings.
Thanks Jesus!
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