Advent Season is often marked by efforts of fasting to help refine our focus on the things of God. It’s funny (not funny -ha ha) that in the Sermon on the Mt Jesus brings all of kingdom living, for God’s children down to 3 main things: Giving, Fasting, and Prayer.
We’re okay with prayer. That’s totally legit. Giving? Yes. Giving makes sense. Ya gotta help people….but wait….FASTING!? Stop eating FOOD? whoa. That could be uncomfortable.
Here’s the part to bear in mind that our stomachs growl if we don’t get food for a few hours. In Jesus’ time, and in many parts of the world today, usually folks get by on one meal a day. Now that hurts!
True spiritual fasting from food isn’t not something to just up and do, if you haven’t learned how to do it. It’s not just, “Hey, I think I’ll ditch food for a couple of days.” When you have a spiritual fast and abstain from food, stuff happens. Richard Foster wrote,
Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear-if they are within us, they will surface during fasting. (This benefits us because with these things revealed, they can also be addressed.)
In short: Fasting can get ugly.
It’s no wonder we conveniently ignore that part of Jesus’ teachings.
Basically, if you have fantasized about bacon much, then fasting could be hard for you. I speak from experience.
HERE’s a quick read that will teach you a few important basics, for you 3 meal per day + snack people…like me.
Here’s a spiritual formation classic that is very helpful for fasting and much more.
You might not be ready for fast from food. I’ll be honest, I’m not.
I’m going to try to fast from 1 meal for 1 one day per week, for each week in Advent, until Christmas. But, I’m used to eating what I want, when I want, so I’ll have to prepare.
But these are a few things I’ll do in the same spirit of a food fast.
(They may sound stupid to you, so see if you can make your own list.)
- Not check my blog stats: It’s addicting to see if my efforts in social media and blogging have a positive statistical effect. It’s distracting too, and I’ll venture that it can even be spiritually damaging. For Advent season, I’ll take a needed break from this, and see if it’s helpful.
- Not have the last word: It’s necessary purification to not “control” the conversation, or feel the need to. I’ll give this up and see if it reveals other needs or wounded spots. Hello, introspection.
- Not respond quickly to defend myself: This is tougher online than face-to-face, for me. Misunderstandings are par for the course on them there interwebs. Attacks online are prevalent too. I’ll give this up because I need no defender but God. I forget this.
- Not let things be more important than people: I want to fast from pounding away at the computer when I could be talking with someone face-to-face. Particularly my kids.
- Not rely on tech: I want to totally unplug for one day per week. No phone. No computer. No tv. No iPod. No Radio. This will be refining because taking it off the table will force me to more properly re-prioritize…everything.