This January, as a unified body, let’s take time to fast (Click here to watch/listen to Bart’s message about fasting). To reorient our lives to Christ and respond to the ways that He might be challenging our daily rhythms. It is a time to pursue God individually and to gain a deeper sense of intimacy with Him.
The idea behind fasting is to give up the things that typically take a great deal of our attention and reroute that attention to Jesus. Fasting is not something that was to remain in Biblical times. Jesus makes it clear that He expects His disciples, us, today, to fast. While it might seem uncomfortable or physically challenging, we are not to steer clear of this discipline.
2 Chronicles 20:1-23
One of the incredible gifts that God sometimes gives His people through fasting is the revelation of the things that control them. It is not until we go without certain things that we even realize the grasp they have on us. As you fast, ask that God would speak to your heart in deeply personal ways each day.
Although it can look differently for everyone, all fasts must be centered around the glorification of God. You can think of it like this – fasting is one way we get to worship our Savior. Fasting could mean giving up a certain meal [or meals] to spend time in conversation with God. It could mean signing off from Social Media for the week. It could mean deciding as a family to forego evening TV watching. It could mean abstaining from physical activity [gym, exercise, etc.] in order to rest your body in new ways. There is no right answer, but the point of fasting is to sacrificially and intentionally lay down things that vie for your attention apart from Christ, in order to listen more clearly to Him and hear more clearly from Him.
Below are suggestions for individual fasts that you can partake in, but these are simply a guide. Ask the Lord to reveal what He might have you give up for the sake of hearing from Him.
- Fast from all non-work related media (yes, that means Netflix, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, TV, etc). Remove apps from your phone, stow your laptops where you will not be tempted to browse the internet, and hide the remotes.
- Fast from food. Pray about how God might be leading in this area. You might choose to fast one meal a day, abstain from eating a certain type of food [dairy, desserts, gluten, etc.], or commit to a limited and strict fast. Please keep in mind your specific dietary restrictions. However, you take part in this fast, remember that the point of fasting is to meet with God in ways that might not happen under normal circumstances.
- Progressive Fast: Start with a baseline – or minimum – commitment of giving up all non-work-related media [internet, TV, radio, video games, all social media, movies, smartphone apps, and whatever else we are missing]. Each day, build on the baseline commitment by removing an item of food, culminating with the fasting from all food [drinking only water]. Please note that children should only participate in the baseline fast from media.
- Follow a reading plan that will teach you more about fasting and guide you through your fast: