For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
I have been fasting for 4 years now. I’ve noticed one thing over those years, ONE huge MISTAKE among fasting Christians is that we focus WAY too much on the physical look and ACT of fasting!
We often do it without even noticing. We go grocery shopping, share recipes, we notify important people of what we can’t do during the fast and then we make a list of things we want in return for our FASTING.
You know our list of non-negotiables that we give to God in exchange for us giving up our worldly attachments, things like:
FREEDOM FROM SOUL TIES
FREEDOM FROM FEAR
to name a popular few.
Of course, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with preparation! Majority of us have to clear our cars, refrigerators and office drawers from our normal temptation. I get it, it takes time. But the problem is that it normally TAKES UP ALL OF OUR TIME! We spend so much time focusing on how to look and be in the act of fasting that we miss the MOST important part which is the transformation of our hearts, minds and spirits and The TIME commitment to the other half of fasting which is PRAYER.
Mark 9:29 SAYS “And he said unto them, this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”(I encourage you to read all of Mark 9 FOR CONTEXT)
I can totally be honest and say that I have fasted my butt off ( or so I thought), even water fasted or added more days and a few weeks later, I was back to my old shenanigans. Once the feel and emotion of “being Holy for 21 days” wore off, I went right back to my regularly scheduled program, because in the end, I didn’t really have a heart change. Because my whole focus was centered around what I couldn’t do, instead of what I could and should be doing. We see it time and time again and when someone is fasting, they suddenly turn holy and you can’t do anything around them. You can’t even listen to your favorite groove near them without them reinforcing that “I’M FASTING, DON’T DO THAT AROUND ME!” (which also isn’t biblical btw. there will always be temptation) Secretly you know that in 5 days, they’ll turn up something worse than whatever it was that you were originally playing.
In the end, did fasting really do its job? Or did it make you drop some weight; feel better for a little a bit and that’s it.Let’s get real; it didn’t do anything because YOU didn’t do anything! It’s not a change if it only lasts for the length of your fast! You’re just going on a diet ! Your fast is meant to transform you from the inside out. Yes of course, there are things that you shouldn’t do during the fast, and correct you shouldn’t be turning up to twerk music. But if that is all your fast is centered around, if that is YOUR MAIN FOCUS then you have completely missed the point! Furthermore, If you plan on returning to who you were before, then why fast?
“It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and turned away from the holy commandment passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud. – 2 Peter 2:21-22
One huge thing that goes lacking during a fast is actual commitment to prayer, study and seeking the face of God. All of the other things are just a supplement to the time you spend communicating with God about your struggles AND waiting to hear answers from him. The time spent with the Lord is what helps the change of your heart, the time committed to study is what makes you more knowledgeable and gives you strategy to fight during this time of warfare and the time in prayer is your actual fighting on the battlefield. We also make sure to understand that in the act of fasting you are feeding your hunger for GOD with the word of God! Therefore, your spirit which needs nutrition(the word) is being fed in place of your physical man in an effort to make your spirit man strong and prepared for warfare.
“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”- Matthew 4:4
What you will notice is that once you’re doing those things, you barely have time to micromanage the physical things others are doing AND you also struggle less with the physical part of the fast, because you have armed your mind and spirit. Your mind would have no time to worry about chastising “Sister Coolio” because she ate a non approved peppermint, because you’re too busy focusing on the important things like fighting on the battlefield and spending time with the father! Matthew 6:33 says “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
So I encourage you as you continue through lent or your fast, to figure out what your focus is on
do you need to tighten up? then tighten up.
do you need to spend more time praying? then spend more time praying.
do you need to extend grace to those around you who may be struggling? then extend grace!
do you need to reset and re-strategize? then reset and re-strategize!
I hope this is an eye opener or confirmation for you all as you continue to fast or participate in lent. This is one of my favorite times of the year and I’m so thankful for this heart check from the Lord! Be blessed!
24 days until Resurrection day!
Places in the Bible to learn about fasting and prayer
Book of Daniel- the story of the Daniel’s fast
This is just a short list of scriptures I like to reference there are many more, I encourage you to read your Bibles and seek wise counsel for deeper understanding and guidance on fasting