I would still consider myself to be relatively new to fasting given that the first time that I did it was in 2010. I felt strongly that there was no point in fasting just because a person or church told me to do so since (at the time) I didn't really understand the point in doing so. I still feel that to a degree way to be honest, but I also must say that I learn something new each time that I do it. Since a lot of people seem to be starting the year off fasting, I wanted to share my thoughts!
It reveals a lot about our carnal character
This for me is one of the most interesting things about fasting. Every time that I start, I have interesting thoughts for the first few days.....like is there really a point to this, and that scripture about obedience being better than sacrifice always comes to mind. Its interesting how my thoughts start to work against me at the onset, but later on that all subsides. Sometimes I also have the "how far can I go" thoughts. Like "hmm candy isn't really food right? What about water? And if water is Ok, then tea is also fine right?" And that tends to be the same process I go through whenever I take a new baby step towards making a change in my life and getting closer to God. Fasting just makes it more obvious and really shows me a lot more about myself.
It should not be done purely because you want something from God
The first time that I ever fasted, I was told to think of something that I want God to do before the end of that 40 day period or by the end of the year, or within some other set time and really trust and it will happen. Over time, I've realized that that's not only not true, but it diverts your attention away from what you really should be thinking about. Lets just say that I was really disappointed and frustrated at the end of that period, and as the years have gone by I have a much better understanding of why. We can't reduce God to Santa Clause. We can't say hey, I've been a good girl, so today is Christmas and I deserve XYZ. At the end of the day, everything will happen (or not happen) on God's time. And then of course when the hunger pangs come, you end up thinking about the new car you want, rather than God's nature and goodness. Its just not what I believe we should be thinking about while fasting.
It's always a rewarding experience
I always learn something new while fasting. Whether its about how little I need food, or just discovering more Christian radio stations and blogs to distract myself with over lunch, I really come out more enriched after every fasting period. Last year, I took some time to fast, and not really ask for anything physical, but just God's peace (because I was dealing with a lot of emotions). God started to heal a lot of things, but in addition, he gave me some amazing promises and really started to show me more about my purpose in life, and since then my entire approach and outlook on life has changed. I haven't achieved all of those things in a year of course, but I have a fuzzy idea on where I'm going and so much peace and excitement about it, and I don't believe that my spirit would have been quiet and focused enough to hear the things that I heard during that time had I not been fasting.
Overall, I still believe that fasting is a blessing, but only if you have the right mindset while doing it. I once heard someone say that fasting without prayer is just hunger strike.....and that is so true. During the fasting periods, you are supposed to elevate your bible study and prayer life even further than usual and really seek God's guidance and his faith. I believe that this is why so many churches see it fitting to start the year off this way.
What are your thoughts on fasting? Agree or disagree with any of my thoughts? Please do share in the comments!!