If you dread the idea of not eating for days on end but you long to honor God’s admonition to fast, this post will show you a method of fasting made easy.
As I sat on the bathroom floor, my stomach churning with empty threats, I had to ask myself- “Is it really that bad?”. You see, I had chosen to participate in a 3-day church-wide fast and the sudden switch to water only was not agreeing with my body.
No doubt there are people dealing with problems much worse than a temporary leave from food. I felt weak and relieved at the same time. After all, if I was unwell, I had an excuse to end the fast.
Fasting, it is the topic that I would dread to hear mentioned in church. Yes, I was aware of great men and women of the Bible who practiced fasting and I knew the verses that shared about its power, but that encouragement to fast left me swimming in a sea of fear and condemnation. I longed to be obedient but I just couldn’t get there.
Maybe that’s you or maybe you are comfortable with fasting and you’d like to learn how to reap the benefits of fasting in your daily life. If food is an area of testing for you, I think you are going to feel liberated and love this fasting that fits into your daily life!
Fasting in the Bible
Throughout the Bible, we read of faithful men and women who fasted with prayer and purpose. Many of these individuals were faced with troublesome circumstances that left them weak in the knees.
These believers met overwhelm and fear with a fast:
- Moses fasted in despair because of the sin of the Israelites (Deuteronomy 9:9).
- David fasts, petitioning God to heal his child (2 Samuel 12:16-23).
- Nehemiah fasts and prays over Jerusalem, confessing sin on their behalf (Nehemiah 1:4).
- Saul fasted after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:9).
Others fasted as a way to prepare and prevent:
- The Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness before He began His earthly ministry to be strengthened and tested (Matthew 4:1-11).
- Paul and Barnabus fasted as they appointed elders, committing them to God (Acts 14:23).
- The prophet and widow Anna served in the temple with fasting and prayer (Luke 2:37)
- Esther and her attendees fast before she appears before the king, pleading for the protection of her people (Esther 4:16).
Fasting is Powerful
So, why would one purposefully deprive themselves of food? Well, it’s certainly not for fun! I don’t know about you but I like to be comfortable. For example, my bed has to be just so before I crawl in. If the air conditioning in the house is too hot or too cold, I fix it right away. If a glare shines in my eyes, I move.
But, you and I, we do things that aren’t fun every single day- for a great purpose. Laundry, anyone? If we can catch a glimpse of the power behind pushing away our plates, we can uncover the desire to do the difficult. By denying ourselves, we set the stage for great things!
In Isaiah, we see a synopsis on what makes fasting so fabulous.
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.”Isaiah 58:6 (NLT)
Fasting opens doors that are slammed shut.
It lightens burdens. It breaks chains that refuse to be cut. If you have any stuckness in your life, a fast may be for you.
Fasting is Effective
What makes fasting so exceptionally effective? While I am no Biblical scholar, I do like to eat. Chances are that you do too. Food is woven into our days.
From 3 square meals to holiday feasts, much of our lives revolve around what we eat. God made food delicious and He built our bodies with appetites that motivate us for necessary sustenance. Hunger, it begs to be answered.
Not eating for the sake of not eating does nothing for us spiritually. But when denying ourselves is paired with an upward focus, we are unstoppable.
To be spiritually effective, we must allow the “daily-ness” of food and the incessant drive to eat as cues to focus ourselves on communication with the Father. This place of humility found in self-denial puts us in the perfect position to recognize our dependence on God and to receive His grace-filled answers.
This is why we can apply fasting to just about any area of our lives.
For example, my pointer finger seems to have programmed itself to open up Facebook on my phone. I know that I meant to check the baby monitor but here I am, scrolling my newsfeed. When the magnetic force of social media is redirected to The Majestic, we’ve got a cue for constant communication.
Fasting Made Easy
My history with fasting is far from great. In my teens, I skipped meals for the sake of the scale and then my feeble attempts at spiritual fasts were a failure. For many of us, not eating is scary.
Maybe it’s because of our previous experience. Maybe it’s fear of the unknown. Regardless, we put our fingers in our ears and flee from its mention.
If you are anything like me, you may find yourself feeling pretty lousy about that. If only I were just stronger? Why can’t I just do it? What is my problem?
My friend, those are diet side effects.
Ah, now the enemy would love for us to feel condemned about our shortcomings! If he can only put a wedge between us and God, he would consider himself successful. But, these condemning thoughts are NOT from God. Give Him the stress and anxiety.
God sees your heart my friend, and if fasting is something you want to do but can’t quite seem to make it happen, the rest of this post is for you.
Fasting Made Easy With Food
Obviously, we know about fasting from food but what about fasting for (freedom from) food. Meaning, can you think of a better way to break chains around food than by fasting the very thing itself?
While someone who struggles with shopping may fast the mall, those of us who find ourselves drawn to eat more than we need can draw the line in the sand by giving God some of those extra bites.
By denying ourselves that which we may want the most, we’re sending a clear message to our flesh and to our Father that we are serious about finding freedom as we glorify God.
“But”, you say, “fasting makes me want to run the other way!” I GET IT… keep reading.
Fasting Made Easy That Fits into Your Daily Life
This is where I want to introduce fasting made easy into your daily life. I will preface this by saying that this practice is not intended to preempt Biblical fasting that is described as not eating for an extended period of time.
This practice is meant to complement Biblical fasting or to be an entry point for those who would not do so otherwise. Folks like me!
Fasting is about self-denial, doing something that you don’t naturally want to do for a greater purpose. This exclusion is uncomfortable and probably difficult; it keeps you on your knees and your toes at the same time. You talk to God more because there is a space and there is a need to do so. Our lives and our relationship with our Creator are molding for greatness in those moments.
Now, think about your relationship with food. Are there certain types of foods or times of eating that trip you up? Take a moment and think of your Top 3.
From that list, pick one. It may be the easiest or the most difficult, it doesn’t matter.
Ask yourself– what is one way that you can fast the food or habit in a way that will grow your dependence on and glorification of God? Let me provide a few examples:
- If you tend to CONTROL your food intake, always choosing low-fat or low-carb options, so much so that it dominates your life- you may choose to fast that control and eat “normal” meals with your family.
- If you overeating at meals, your fast could be the last 3 bites as you stop eating when satisfied.
- If you tend to snack on unhealthy food, consider fasting between meals and don’t eat between your scheduled meals. Or only eat from a plate.
- Is your afternoon slump leading to poor food choices? Fast your toughest hour and plan a nourishing meal or snack for afterward.
- Do you “have to” have your daily latte or soda? Swap it out or skip it.
- Is your after-dinner dessert becoming a habit rather than a treat? Push through the desires to indulge and go to bed a little more empty.
How to Practice Fasting Made Easy
Have you thought of what and how you would like to fast? Before you proceed any further, let me encourage you to choose a fast that feels doable to you and say a prayer for food freedom.
Yes, it will be uncomfortable and no, you won’t want to do it but please choose something that is realistic.
It is ok to start small. Once you conquer those humble beginnings, you can move into new territory. Keep in mind that this is about denying our flesh and about our relationship with God. Try to keep your motivations away from weight loss, as we both know how that particular goal tends to fizzle when things get tough.
7 Steps to Food Freedom With Fasting Made Easy
- Determine the top 3 food habits that feel near and dear to your heart.
- Choose ONE habit to fast.
- Tweak the fast until if feels slightly difficult but still doable.
- Practice this fast, using the discomfort as a cue to communicate with and rely on God.
- Keep going until the fast starts to feel easy.
- Repeat the process.
- Find more and more food freedom!
As you can see, fasting doesn’t have to be dramatic to be effective and life-changing. When we look at those faithful followers who have gone before us, we can see the importance of denying our flesh for great things. And while a total fast can be scary, making the fast bite-size has its advantages in bringing the practice into our daily lives.
By choosing the habit that has a hold on us, we can begin to slowly break the chains while finding our strength in the One who is Strength.
Comment below and share what you plan to fast or if you need help finding a fast that feels just uncomfortable enough, I’d be happy to help!
PLEASE NOTE: If you suffer from or have suffered from an eating disorder, please seek wise counsel before embarking on any type of fast. Prayerfully seek the Lord to find His direction about what He would like you to give up for His name’s sake.
Maybe it’s your anxiety around food or thinking about what you are going to eat. Maybe it’s loosening the reigns a bit or eating something that you’ve considered “off limits” for a long time. For some, doing more may be more sacrificial than doing less.
Whatever you do, do it with GRACE!
Brandice Lardner is a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, Author, and Jesus Girl whose mission in life is to help women ditch the diet mentality and find peace with food and their bodies so that they are better equipped to do the great things God has called them to do.