Welcome to week 5: Fasting – the final installment in our series on Spiritual Disciplines. Years ago, I used to like to do the three-day, juice only fast, every once in a while. But now I have developed a more regular discipline of fasting? I’ll just be honest: I fast once a week, every Tuesday, to be specific. I only fast from breakfast and lunch (that way it doesn’t interfere with my evening routine of time with my family) . I drink only water (and coffee, i.e. non-caloric, non-nutritional drinks), and I have a glass of juice for lunch, then I break the fast that night at dinner.
I do still do the occasional, extended (3-day, juice-only) fast, when I’m really seeking God or facing a big decision type of thing. But I find that regular fasting helps to remind me that I don’t have to bow to the flesh. Since its a regular habit, you can bet that some weeks its just that – a habit, no lightning bolts, no voice from heaven. But more often than not, I do find that there is a deeper spiritual fruit/experience. For me that usually happens on the drive home at the end of my work day (let’s face it, one can only lay prostrate in your cubicle at work for so long before people start ask questions).
And that’s where “dialing down” comes into play again! Remember in week 2 when we talked about driving with the radio off? Well, that’s exactly what I do! One day per week I drive to and from the work with the car radio off – no podcast, no worship music, no news, weather & sports, no ZZ Top! It that whole discipline of silence and solitude thing. I choose to let my “Drive with the Radio Off” day coincide with my weekly fasting day, but again, go with whatever works for you.
One final thought, our church has done a couple of Daniel Fasts over the last couple of years (one was 10 days, the other 2 weeks, methinks). For those of you who aren’t familiar, it’s basically whole grains, legumes, and all the fruits & veggies you can stand, but no meat, dairy or fried foods. This was really good, from my perspective at least. Plus its really healthy (and you’ll lose a bunch of weight without even trying). For more detailed info on this and other fasts, Elmer Towns has written extensively on this topic.
What role has fasting played in your spiritual formation? What types of fasting has worked well for you that you might want to share with others in the comments below? Have you experienced a significant personal breakthrough as direct result of fasting? Or what have been some challenges, barriers, struggles in your endeavors to develop a discipline of fasting.
Well that about wraps it up for this series on Spiritual Disciplines. I’m thinking next I may do something on more organic forms of church. Can there be a happy medium between purely Organic (House) Church and the traditional Institutional Church? Stay tuned…