No Fried Food
No Holy Spirit
No Kindness toward our staff
No Supporting the homeless
No Social Media
I will only talk about fasting based on my own experience as I am not a theologian. Fasting is a practice of abstaining traditionally from food or drink, but lots of folks currently are fasting from TV or social media in addition to the foods they normally eat. Sometimes our doctors or surgeons instruct us to fast due to medical procedures. Many folks in the bible have fasted including Jesus for 40 days. I have fasted for a short periods of time and on one occasion I fasted only eating raw vegetables and fruit for 40 days. Some of us fast because God clearly called for the fast, some of us fast corporately because God spoke to our pastors, leaders, apostles, or bishops to instruct the people to fast, some of us fast because we traditionally do so during certain parts of the year.
Fasting can be used as a way to avail ourselves to God for a specific reason. For example when I have to preach or do poetry I typically abstain from food the day of until I am done speaking. Fasting helps me to stand clear from clouding my mind with doubt, worry, or my own interpretation of what I believe God wants me to say or do while presenting.
Recently in my travels through the bible and life I was lead to re-read Isaiah chapter 58 and verse 3 the Lord scolded Israel for the kind of fasting they were doing. God clapped back at their fast. The same fast that they thought would surely please God, angered God. Seriously, though what good is abstaining from fried chicken, macaroni & cheese and sweets if you're not caring for those that desperately need support in our communities. How is abstaining from Facebook helping you get closer to God if you're mean and irritable toward the people that live in your own house, building or neighborhood. In my observation and study of this chapter I am seeing two things that God is looking for when we fast H U M I L I T Y + W O R S H I P .
Fasting is not magic!
There is no magical power in fasting! Many of us begin fasting with the wrong ideas. We consider our abstinence to be a superpower to get God to notice us. God doesn't need you to wear a superpower in order to see you. He is consistently looking and checking and reviewing us because He loves us! It's like many of us are fasting so that The Creator of all the earth, heavens, sun, moon, planets, and stars will see us struggling and fretting over the abstinence of food, drink or social media and will magically give us everything we are fasting for! Many of us are fasting for a new house, a cure from disease, to see a loved one resurrected from the dead, and/or to pass exams. Don't get me wrong I am not saying that we should not fast because we are facing a difficult challenge or an extremely painful period in our lives or because our lives are extremely painful. I am just naming and noticing that sometimes our fasting is focused on us, when it should solely be focused on God.
Here is the issue: many of us believe that fasting is the power that moved God's hand! That would make us magicians or sorcerers or manipulators. God forbid we unintentionally use fasting as witchcraft! I am suggesting that we all read/re-read Isaiah 58 and make sure that our hearts and minds are clear from fasting as a magic trick vs. fasting because we want to get low (humble) and worship (be open to God's leading). If we are fasting spiritually for any other reason I encourage us to realign ourselves with God and ask the Lord if the fasting is pleasurable. Fasting is an important act of worship but if we are not worshiping God in spirit & in truth (John 4:24) while fasting then what my friends, is the point - just to say we fasted?
A prayer for all of us.
Abba Father, Creator of all the earth please speak with each of us to know more about your desires for our minds, bodies, and souls. Help us to know what pleases you. Use Isaiah 58, Matthew 17:21 and Matthew 4 to have a better understanding about why we should fast, when we should fast and what we should actually be doing during a fast. Lord God in heaven you are so amazing to be so powerful and huge and creative and to have a strong urgency to be with your creation! You are amazing Oh God! Father God I thank you for continuing to minister to each of us, our families, friends, colleagues and neighbors. I pray that
you help us be the salt in our homes, jobs, schools, at the grocery store,
at the gym and everywhere we go. In Jesus name. Amen.