We are not talking intermittent fasting here. That is the new fad as regards weight loss and has nothing to do with spirituality. Fasting as a spiritual exercise has been in existence since before we were born. Very many people see spiritual fasting exercise as something they do for God – to show long-suffering as Christian. On the contrary, fasting is much more than that. It is intentional – a positioning of the self for God’s blessings. It is a rejuvenation of self, a spiritual cleansing and it has plenty benefits, seven of which this article is going to highlight.
- It makes us desire God anew: A verse in the psalm says, ‘As the deer longs after water, so my soul longs for you.’ This part of the scripture really makes sense when you deprive yourself of physical food. Fasting connects us with God on higher levels and with that connection comes a craving to know God more and search Him out in spirit and truth.
- You will have peace of mind: If you have never fasted in times of uncertainty and peril, you should do so and see the difference it makes. As fasting makes us desire God, it also opens our eyes to things that we did not realize prior. This helps us understand God’s word and His promises to His people. Fasting cleans our soul and keeps the worries of life at bay. Regular fasting makes us peaceful and gives us strength to overcome trials and temptations.
- Fasting will make you unplug: This is especially important today when electronic devices have taken over people’s lives. Since fasting entails deprivation or irrelevancies, the alone time that follows when you unplug, will help you take introspection of your life and help you pinpoint areas that you need to work on.
- Cleansing takes place: Our bodies are temples of the Most High. Most of what we consume are toxic. Hence, when fasting, we give our body a break from all that toxicity, allowing detoxification to take place which purges our bodies and keeps our spirit in tune with God.
- ‘Speak Lord, I hear you.’: Yes, fasting will make you sensitive to the voice of God. Anna in the new testament is a good example of the effects of fasting. We are told that she constantly prayed and fasted. This why she was able to hear God tell her whom Jesus was, when he was brought to the temple where she worshiped. So, if you want to hear God, you should make fasting a constant in your life.
- Fasting encourages self-control: When you fast regularly, you will not only strengthen your relationship with God; you will also learn to rein in desires of the flesh, and this includes abstaining from food unless necessary. When you realize that you can discipline yourself regarding food, it will gradually be easy to wield willpower over other aspects of your life that needs work.
- We reach God’s heart: Have you tried fasting about that problem? Oh, prayer is good. But then, sometimes, you need to do more in addition to supplication. Recall when God asked Jonah to go tell the people of Nineveh that they would be destroyed. What did the king do? He proclaimed a fast for both humans and animals, hoping that if God sees their contrite spirit, His wrath will be turned away from them. And guess what? God did see that they were indeed sorry, by their actions of fasting, morning and abstinence. He forgave them and turned his wrath away.