This teaching DOES NOT aim to give a comprehensive structured system on what the spiritual aspects of a fast should look like. Mostly because that really would take two teachings or more on the subject of fasting. And also is probably addressed throughout your BCOM experience. Personally, I see the practical, external components of executing a fast as a priority, and pertinent to a believer fasting on a consistent basis because without that understanding many give up or rarely utilize the tool and gift of fasting.
Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers
And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. “Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”
Jesus loves me so much, He is fiercely committed to destroying that which has afflicted me: my deep infatuation with myself. David Sliker
“Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve; nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of oneself.” T.S. Eliot
How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?
2 Corinthians 12:9,10
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Fasting & prayer is God’s plan to usher you into voluntary weakness. Billy Humphrey
God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us. Martin Luther
Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a safe journey for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.
And the people of Ninevah believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest of them to the least of them.
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
2 Corinthians 7:8-11
For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it…As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces (second) death (in hell). For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you (in the resurrection at the Lord’s appearing).
1 Peter 5:1-11
So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed (the resurrection & coming Kingdom of the Messiah): shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock (similar context to Is. 58, don’t exploit unto your reputation). And when the chief Shepherd appears (the Messiah’s/Jesus’ return), you will receive the unfading crown of glory (at the resurrection of your body). Likewise, you who are younger…Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time (the Messiah’s return) he may exalt you (resurrect you unto life in Him), casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith (of the Messiah’s return), knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (in the resurrection of your body at Jesus return). To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Pride is not an attribute of God’s current and coming Kingdom, thus He will oppose it on the Day of the Lord at His appearing. The only way to overcome pride is through the grace given by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was given to help us endure inwardly unto the Day of the Lord with a right heart. Thus we access His Spirit and grace through prayer and it becomes the “on ramp” of displaying our weakness before God, in every day life, by crying out “Help!” to the Spirit on a consistent basis. Fasting can easily intensify this cry because of the vulnerability and exposing it brings to our inner life. When our inner life is walking rightly with God, there is Biblical precedent that God might give us immediate favor in some situations. However, the heart of the believer should keep their eyes soberly fixed on the favor that they will receive on the Day of the Messiah’s appearing (1 Pet. 1:13).
There are lots of reasons not to pray and fast. All of them involve our arrogance and disconnected self-reliance. David Sliker
10. There are so many cultural elements that can cause us to remain in bondage to our bellies (ie. food commercials, food smells, habits, community living, etc) that in turn will leave many discouraged and embracing other areas of bondage in their lives.
10. Fasting will force the challenge of facing addictions, compulsive behaviors, depression, internal pain, etc. It presses the pause button on life to quietly observe how crazy & detached we have become from Him and to accelerate freedom from all kinds of bondage.
11. God wants us to be free but we have to face the subtle demons of our character: fear, hopelessness, worry, doubt. Jesus becomes front-&-center in life as things are sacrificed.
12. Fasting is a magnifying glass that allows us to examine subconscious patterns of living. Think about the investment & energy within our cultural infrastructure that is aimed at controlling the subconscious patterns of peoples’ lives (I pray often around this for my children, who are the target of a Babylonian system). Fasting exposes how darkness has been able to infiltrate the destiny of our lives in the everyday and can bring us to radical joy in His freedom.
13. Feel empty! Feel the pain! Allow your heart to suffer in context to looking up. Don’t be afraid, He will take the yoke & burden!
Homeostasis: is the property of an open system, especially living organisms, to regulate its internal environment so as to maintain a stable condition, by means of multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustments controlled by interrelated regulation mechanisms. Seeks to bring continued balance to the hunger system.
It’s easy to see why we’re overfed and undernourished. We gorge ourselves with increasing amounts of food to respond to our bodies’ cravings for nutrition. After we’ve eaten, our bodies, even though under a heavy burden of calories, still realize that they never received the nutrients they needed. So our brains send more signals, triggering hunger, which is interpreted by us as the need or desire for even more food. We end up spiraling down into a vicious cycle of overfeeding with empty foods, craving more nutrition and overfeeding again with even more empty processed, devitalized, sugary foods. We get fatter and fatter, forcing our bodies to groan under the burden of extra pounds. But in terms of actual nourishment, we give our bodies less and less. Excerpt from Toxic Relief by Dr. Don Colbert
10. True juice fasting does not include V8, Gatorade, smoothies, hot chocolate, coffee or anything else that has unnatural ingredients. These will destroy the results of the fast on the body and can also take away the effects sought through spiritual fasting. They can make the fast much easier where you won’t “feel it.” It can also make the fast much harder because certain ingredients can awaken the stomach, bringing on severe hunger pains.
11. 30-40 days on a juice fasting can bring significant cleansing
10. It takes mental preparation. Tell yourself it is coming. 🙂
How long should I fast? Prefer long fasts to short ones. Long fasts give the body the uninterrupted time to do the work of healing and allow God the solitude to reveal your other dependencies. I compare it to getting a piano tuned. A piano tuner can tune a piano in three short visits or one long one. Three shorter visits will take more time and energy because he has to drive back and forth, loading and unload his tools
Do not allow the focus of Christ to be lost in tinkering with the tool. At the end of the day, no matter how educated you are or how many times you have fasted, there will be new frontiers and challenges because fasting is as complex as human nature, and mysterious as the touch of the divine.
a) The government has spent billions of dollars in research into disease, yet very little is spent on prevention. There is more money spent on advertising aspirin than nutritional education.
b) North America has ignored all the statistics that clearly define the modern diet as being destructive to health. Having one of the highest standards of living has resulted in a nation with the greatest rates of heart attacks and cancer. Due to medical care, people are living longer, but seniors are taking an average of eight to twelve prescription drugs daily for multiple, health problems. We have prolonged life, which tragically often translates into prolonged suffering.
a) Calcium is in every natural food that we eat. And, believe it or not, there are actually foods that are higher in calcium than our beloved milk. Little sesame seeds do not have the backing of a massive Dairy Board to advertise their nutritional quality. Yet a cup of these humble little seeds contains 2,200 mg. of calcium compared with the 280 mg. of calcium in a cup of milk.
b) All green leafy vegetables, cabbage, asparagus, broccoli, collards, brewers’ yeast, dulse, figs, oats, prunes, soy products, blackstrap molasses and Sucanat, to mention only a few, contain generous amounts of this essential mineral. All life on earth contains calcium.
a) Meat is a huge part of the North American Diet. In most countries, meat is very expensive and used only as a garnish at meals. But, nutritionists have linked cancer to animal foods. Each time you eat an animal product you increase the chance of cancer. Men who eat meat, dairy products, and eggs daily, will increase the risk of dying from prostate cancer by 360%.
The risk of death from a heart attack for the average American man is 50%. When reducing meat, the percentage drops to 15%. By avoiding all animal products, the risk of death from a heart attack drops to 4%.