Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Facinating thoughts about "Fasting"

Primary purpose of Fasting
Fasting must forever center on God. It must be God-initiated and God-ordained.
Secondary purpose of Fasting
More than any other discipline , fasting reveals the things that control us. This is a wonderful benefit to the true disciple who longs to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We 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. Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear - if they are within us, they will surface during fasting. At first we will rationalize that our anger is due to our hunger; then we will realize that we are angry because the spirit of anger is with in us. We can rejoice in this knowledge because we know that healing is available through the power of Christ.
Fasting reminds us that we are sustained "by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matt 4:4). Food does not sustain us; God sustains us. In Christ, "All things hold together" (Col.1:17). Therefore, in experiences of fasting we are not so much abstaining from food as we are feasting on the work of God.
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 writes," 'All things are lawful for me,' but I will not be enslaved by anything" (1 Cor. 6:12). Our human cravings and desires are like rivers that tend to overflow their banks; fasting helps keep them in their proper channels.
You are to be the master of your stomach, not its slave!
Where are the people today who will respond to the call of Christ? Have we become so accustomed to "cheap grace" that we instinctively shy away from more demanding calls to obedience? "Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross." Why has the giving of money, for example, been unquestionably recognized as an element in Christian devotion and fasting so disputed? Certainly we have as much, if not more, evidence from the Bible for fasting as we have for giving. Perhaps in our affluent society fasting involves a far larger sacrifice than the giving of money.

The Practice of Fasting
With all disciplines, a progression should be observed; it is wise to learn to walk well before we try to run. Begin with a partial fast of twenty-four hours' duration; many have found lunch to lunch to be the best time. This means that you would not eat 2 meals. Fresh fruit juices are excellent to drink during the fast. Attempt this once a week for several weeks. The most important thing to monitor is the inner attitude of your heart.
After 2 or 3 weeks you are prepared to attempt a normal fast of 24 hours. Drink only water but use healthy amounts of it. If the taste of water bothers you, add a teaspoon of lemon juice:)
(All the above are excerpts from Ch 4 in Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster)

I still think you should run out and buy a copy of this book:) I am so excited about what I am learning each week as I read a chapter a week and how it is challenging me in finding discipline in my own life and thus spilling out into the lives of my children:) Who would have though!
This book will have it's 30th anniversary in print in 2008. My cousin and I are going to Celebrate it's anniversary by declaring 2008 "The year of the Disciplines". We will have a chat room so we can share our discovery's of each discipline each month as a group! I hope you will plan to join us. You have a few months to think about it:)
This is what the year will look like:

The Inward Disciplines
January / Meditation Ch 2
February / Prayer Ch 3
March / Fasting Ch 4
April / Study Ch 5

The Outward Disciplines
May / Simplicity Ch 6
June / Solitude Ch 7
July / Submission Ch 8
August / Service Ch 9

The Corporate Disciplines
September / Confession Ch 10
October / Worship Ch 11
November / Guidance Ch 12
December / Celebration Ch 13

1 comment:

cousin said...

We're gonna rock those disciplines!