Fasting is for the spiritual adventurist, the soulish deep-sea diver . . . not the surface skater.
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[Expanded from a 2009 post of same title; revised January 2015.]
Fasting is a matter of turning down the world’s noise and tuning into G-d. It’s not about a bunch of man-made, religious rules and regulations. It’s about love. Love for Him . . . and a desire to go deeper, press further and forsake other “stuff” for the opportunity to encounter Him in a hidden, holy place. A place that is not tethered to this physical world with its distractions, clamoring demands and earthbound desires. A place where your soul’s senses—hearing, sight, feeling, smell, taste, spirituality—are sharpened and fine-tuned to G-d.
And when that occurs, you’ve entered into shift territory. Shifts in you, in others, in situations. It’s the stuff the whole Jacob’s ladder and heaven-and-earth connection is made of. In other words, fasting isn’t focused on what you’re not doing (not eating, not watching TV, not shopping or whatever else you’ve forfeited for a period), but on action.
That action begins with quieting your soul, climbing into the crevices of His Word to excavate new treasures, worshiping Him and journeying into deeper intercession. But it’s more than bunkering up in your “prayer closet” for the duration. In fact, it’s the rest of the story that apparently really attracts G-d’s attention and ignites change.
WHAT G-D SAID
G-d lays down the parameters of what He considers a holy fast—and what doesn’t. Just look at Isaiah 58 . . .
You fast with contention and strife to strike viciously with your fist.
You cannot fast as you do today, hoping to make your voice heard on high.
Will the fast I choose be like this:
A day for a person to deny himself,
to bow his head like a reed and to spread out a sackcloth and ashes?
The answer is a flat no. What G-d wants us to do is fast in a way that reflects His heart: break the chains of wickedness, set the oppressed free, tear off yokes, share with others, reach out to the poor and homeless . . . then watch as your soul’s menorah lights up the world around you and pleases your King.
THE ISAIAH 58 GAME PLAN
1. justice—release those wrongly bound . . . even those who are bound-up in situations because of your prior actions, words, offenses . . . or those who are bound up by the enemy and need the salvation message.
2. freedom—lift those from servitude, usury oppression and break every heavy yoke . . . even the yoke of false accusations and slander from your lips.
3. generosity—meet the needs of people in trouble and fulfill your duty to your community . . . even by feeding your neighbors or the poor, by clothing those who need it or by volunteering in an outreach to help others.
When you take passionate action during a part of your fast time to actualize the things that are tender to His heart, people are freed, saved, released, blessed, healed, fed, clothed, transformed.
And you? You’re catching the L-rd’s love showers.
Here’s His promise, per Isaiah 58, if you do His chosen fast . . .
1. spiritual growth—your light will burst forth, your previous gloom/worries will be replaced with His joy, truth, understanding.
2. healing—newness will replace those old wounds (emotional, spiritual, physical) and your strength will be renewed.
3. well-guarded—His glory will follow you, guide you and satisfy your needs even in the desert . . . when you call, He will answer, “Here I am.”
4. spiritually nourished—your soul will be like a watered garden, a spring that never fails.
5. warrior-strong, retaking the land—your soul will be readied to rebuild those ruins in your life, repair broken walls, restore your life’s streets so you can stand on His foundations and journey on His path.
Going deeper with G-d through fasting helps you regain perspective and healing. That’s true in Judaic and messianic thought.
So you’re stepping into a holy fast? Sababa (cool)! Expect to evidence change, be changed, and encounter His Holiness. G-d, in His amazing kindness, lifts you up from the mundane, the tangible, and reveals words of wisdom or knowledge, helping you see within and without.
NOTE: Expanded from a 2009 post of same title; revised January 2015.