Intermittent fasting is generally perceived as a weight loss tactic while fasting for religious purposes is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Even before experimenting with intermittent fasting, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my intentions with fasting were a whole lot more than simply losing weight.
Disclaimer: There are a bunch of different religions who embrace fasting as a practice. As I am writing these words, I am a couple of people I know from the Muslims faith, are fasting for Ramadan. While I respect their journey and practice, I really can’t speak from a Muslim or any other religious perspective.
For that reason, I will speak about fasting from a Christian perspective. While I am no-where near an expert on the matter, I am pretty excited about learning about fasting as a spiritual discipline.
The Bible says when we fast, that implies, we as Christians have a responsibility to fast, something that isn’t very common amongst us! That in itself should tell us something!
There are loads of resources available online to guide us on the matter, resources I am thoroughly enjoying. Bennie Mostert has a very helpful guide when it comes to fasting as a spiritual discipline.
The purpose of this post isn’t to dig into these! It really is to guide me and share the interesting things I find along the way!
I’m sure you remember this famous verse from Jeremiah:
The verse right in front of this one reads as follows: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfil my good promise to bring you back to this place.”
The Israelites were in exile in Babylon!
Stay with me now! Let’s head over to Daniel 9. Here’s what it says:
In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes, who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.
So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.
Let’s just tidy all of this up for a moment. Daniel was referring to the Jeremiah 29:10, where the Lord says: When your 70 years in exile is over, I will fulfil My promise to you.
This is the same Daniel that had already been (and survived) the lion’s den!
Also, the same Daniel that survives a furnace.
The same Daniel that said the following words when he faced the burning fire: My God is able to save me from the fire, but even if He doesn’t, I still won’t bow down to any other God.
Here’s what that tells me:
- He knew God intimately
- Daniel fully trusted God!
- Lions and Fire! Call me a wimp, but that’s pretty spectacular!
- Daniel understood that when God said 70 years, He meant 70 years.
Let’s be honest, Daniel lived a spotless life, as a Jew! Before Christ died for our sins, in other words, under the Mosaic law!
I have been saved by grace, a gift! And yet, I lack the discipline to fast, along with the intimacy Daniel enjoys with God.
I believe the intimacy Daniel enjoyed was a product of fasting.
A state of fear
A couple of months ago, I wrote a post called: “How to face and overcome fear in your innermost being“. The essence of the post is that I am afraid and fear paralyses me, to an extent that I am not very useful! Ever since that initial post, I realise, there’s a deeper underlying issue, that I need to address in order for me to stand in my full purpose.
There’s an urgency in me to be who I am meant to be, yet I have no idea how to be that person!
I’m sure all of that sounds like one massive riddle! Perhaps this is a better way of wording it: There are so many hurting people in the world and yet my focus is on extra kilos I want to lose!
Weight loss and Fasting
Losing weight isn’t about being skinny or pretty. It’s to be strong, fit, healthy! Capable!
The extra kilos are holding me back, so they need to go. But here’s the thing – it isn’t a physical thing! Emotional eating is more emotion than eating.
So this fasting journey is a journey of physical, emotional and spiritual transformation.