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Fasting

I almost don't like the term fasting, and I wonder if Jesus used it not because He came up with the term, but because it was already in use. Remember that God encourages our creativity while dictating as little as possible to us. It was Adam, after all, who named the animals, not God. But, yes, fasting is neglecting food to your body for a period of time. There are other means of fasting, too. Feel free to read up on it.

But we neglect food to our body, or other things which are in danger of holding idolatrous power over us, in order to feast on God. That hour or more that would be spent in meal prep and eating, instead is spent in intentional connection with God. We are saying to God that He holds the place of highest value in our lives, and not the thing we are setting aside during the fast. This is also true of fasting social media or streaming video, or anything else that may hold too much power in our lives.

Cultivating with: Fasting

There are very few hard and fast rules with any of this. Each person is different so each relationship will look different. No two people's relationships with God and those He loves will look exactly the same. But there are a few suggestions that have worked for others. Here are some resources for the "how-to" of the practice. These, together with some of the articles and such linked below, will help to get you started:

PracticingTheWay.org: This link is to their section on fasting. You will likely need to sign up for access, and will need to start a small group of people to engage the practice with to have full access to the videos. But it is well worth it to start a group, and it is best to do a practice with others anyway. As a group you would meet once per week to have a meal together and discuss. The group lasts 4 weeks.

To Pray / Fasting Episode 2: (Fasting) Link to Spotify episode of the John Mark Comer Teachings podcast. This is a very good episode about why we fast. (And, yes, Dunkirk by Christopher Nolan was a great film.) As I am listening to this podcast and hearing him speaking about continually seeking God, not just try once or a few times and say "oh, well. It didn't work" it reminded me of my search for greater intimacy with God. For so long it felt like God was not really a close friend, and it felt like it was on me. I sought. I kept seeking. But except for my initial conversion at the age of 11, and a re-dedication at the age of 16, a sense that I was close to God was elusive. Through counseling, I was reminded that I made a vow at the age of 18 or 19 that I'll "never hurt like this again" after a relationship ended a year or two prior. Since then, intimacy with God was elusive. It got better over time, but nowhere near where I wanted, or thought should be. I renounced the vow and intimacy came almost immediately. That was at the age of 50. It was 30 years in between.

But if intimacy with God had come more easily at lower cost, it would not be as valuable to me today as it is. I want to protect that. It is the most important relationship I have and will ever have. Perhaps seeking, continually seeking, makes something more valuable when it is found.

I also thought that the point about our information overload society not leading to better practice was a great one. We have become accustomed to becoming inspired and then doing nothing about it. If more information keeps you from praxis, set aside the podcast, the book, the website, etc, and engage in the practices. Knowing God relationally is far better than knowing about God mentally.

Here is that sermon in video form on Vimeo:

The Truth About Fasting in the Bible: (Fasting) Link to the Become New podcast by John Ortberg. Fasting as feasting? When Jesus' disciples returned with food in John 4, Jesus told them that He has food that they do not know about. When Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness in Matthew 4, when after fasting for 40 days Satan invited Jesus to turn rocks to bread, Jesus told him that man shall live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Is God able to sustain you supernaturally as you turn the time you would spend eating, or on social media, or whatever you are fasting from, into time spent intentionally with God?

I am not suggesting that you do a lengthy fast, nor to do one without the advice of your doctor if you have a relevant medical condition like diabetes (like I have). A typical fast in Jesus' day would often be sun up to sun down, or perhaps for a day. I did a 7-day fast once, with mainly water, but occasional juice if my sugars dropped too low. So if you do not fast now, but would like to, then read up in how to do one, and perhaps consult your doctor.

Here is that podcast in video form on YouTube:

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