Sunday, September 29, 2019

Fasting day 6

What defines a spiritual fast versus any other kind of fast? 

A spiritual fast, like other fasts, involves denying the body food for a certain period of time, in order to move the mind's focus away from the body and its desires and toward God.
 It might be one meal, one day, several days, several weeks, and so on. At times we feel called to fast by the Lord. Other times we feel a sense that a fast is necessary for breakthrough or answers.

Common motivations for spiritual fasting include:
  • Mourning
  • Seeking redemption
  • Renewal of faith
  • Seeking a sense of purpose or direction
  • Struggling with a major life choice
  • Overcoming addiction or a crisis
  • Seeking intervention in the lives of loved ones
The physical act of denial is an act of faith. It is also an act of discipline and self-control over the flesh. It can remove addictions, clear our mind of distractions so we can listen to God, enable us to see that we are more than our cravings, and develops discipline over many areas in our lives.

It's not about what we are going without, it is about what we are exchanging that time spent on food for, and what we are subsequently gaining.

In Matthew 6:16 Jesus says, "When you fast," not if you fast or some people fast. It's an expectation that fasting is a part of spiritual Christian life. 

He said don't go around looking like you are "miserable, gloomy, and disheveled" as if a fast is some terrible burden on you, as if others should feel bad for you or praise your martyrdom. 

Fasting is a gift and should be undertaken with joy and humility, with an intention to not only fast from distractions such as food, secular t.v. and music, and other activities that do not help you contemplate your spiritual direction or what it is you are seeking to address with the Lord during this time.

"Whether it’s strengthening earnest prayer (Ezra 8:23Joel 2:12Acts 13:3). Or seeking God’s guidance (Judges 20:26Acts 14:23) or his deliverance or protection (2 Chronicles 20:3–4Ezra 8:21–23). Or humbling ourselves before him (1 Kings 21:27–29Psalm 35:13). Or expressing repentance (1 Samuel 7:6Jonah 3:5–8) or grief (1 Samuel 31:132 Samuel 1:11–12) or concern for his work (Nehemiah 1:3–4Daniel 9:3). Or overcoming temptation and dedicating ourselves to him (Matthew 4:1–11). Or best of all, expressing love and devotion to him (Luke 2:37), and saying with our fast, “This much, O God, I want more of you.”' ("The Secret Benefits of Fasting," Desiring

Fasting is a reminder that Jesus is the true food, and the true drink, the one that refreshes, the one that renews for eternity, not just for the five minutes we sit and scarf and then it's gone and all the momentary pleasure with it.

"Jesus answered, “If you drink from Jacob’s well you’ll be thirsty again and again, but if anyone drinks the living water I give them, they will never thirst again and will be forever satisfied! For when you drink the water I give you it becomes a gushing fountain of the Holy Spirit, springing up and flooding you with endless life!” John 4:13-14 

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