11 January 2016

Fast 1.2016

One of the spiritual disciplines of religious people of various traditions is to sanctify a public fast.  Some leaders call for a fast with an emphasis on seeking a spiritual awakening of some sort. Others lead the fast for physical cleansing after two months of wanton holiday gluttony. Still others evoke fasting as spiritual superiority stoked in suffering to show piety alone.  Whichever or another reason, January invariably includes some fast for you or someone you know.

For the next 21 days I am fasting. Sure, there are proponents of true fast that balk at my making a public acknowledgement.  But for me, I share that I am fasting with those closest to me for spiritual covering; and to others for the opportunity to talk about my faith in God. I have no holiday gluttony from which to repent. I speak no petition as a bargaining chip to manifest some favor. I profess no piety other than love.

When I fast I become ever more mindful of God.  Sometimes, this leads me to utter specific prayers for myself or others; but not unlike how I pray usually.  Sometimes, fasting causes me to lose about five pounds; about as much as usual when I just stop indulging on cherry sours and banana chews at any given point during the year. Sometimes, when I fast, I forget and reach for meats or sweets; because I am human.

Fasting to me is joyful worship.  When I fast during a corporate call to fast I am most sensitive to the presence of Spirit.  I feel an unusual surge in discernment and clarity, even if the power is not needed on my behalf.  When I learn of others' intentions and petitions during a season of corporate fast, I join my submission to Spirit with theirs for God to answer.

If you fast:
  • Use common sense. Choose the fast that does not compromise your health and medication schedule. 
  • Drink water. Not sports drinks, sugar laden juices, or caffeinated drinks. Water. 
  • Get rest. Go to bed earlier. Sleep longer. 

Fast as you are lead by Spirit. God is not about legalism. God is love.
  • Daniel Fast: may churches have embarked upon this fast. No sweets or meats or breads.  Drink water and juices. Eat soy or veggie burgers. 
  • Sacrifice Fast:  give up personal indulgences, i.e., aforementioned cherry sours, television, social media, swearing, etc. 
  • Partial Fast:  abstaining from food between sun-up and sun-down. Drink water only during this period.
  • Absolute Fast:  being lead by Holy Spirit and cleared with you physician, abstain from food and drink for a set number of days. 

For the next 21 days I am fasting. Although I do not feign to understand the mystery of giving up meats and sweets correlating with Divine favor, I fast for the joy of participating in corporate worship. May God be pleased with this demonstration of our praise.