{Day 3} Cleaning the Mind Through Fasting

5 days series

I debated on whether to title this post on fasting: Cleaning the Mind or Cleaning the Body. I don’t think there’s a right answer (at least, I hope not, because I do love to be right), but I do think that when we turn to fasting we are purifying our minds and readying ourselves to hear from God.

I’ll be upfront and say that I’m not a very good “faster”. I get grumpy, I forget to pray, I get bitter because I’m fixing food for the kids and not me, and I eat twice as much the next time I can eat.

I need to work on that attitude, don’t I? I think I might be missing the point of fasting. Because I’m pretty sure sacrifice and coming to the end of myself is what fasting is about. *laughing sarcastically at my self-centered-ness*

Seriously though, I love food. I don’t love feeling hungry, but I want Jesus to know I’m willing to bear His cross. And what better way to train myself to bless and honor Jesus in times of trial as well as times of blessing than regular fasting?

Jesus has many lovers of His kingdom of heaven, but he has few bearers of His Cross. Many desire His consolation, but few desire His tribulation. He finds many comrades in eating and drinking, but He finds few hands who will be with Him in His abstinence and fasting…But those who love Jesus purely for Himself, and not for their own profit or convenience, bless Him as heartily in temptation and tribulation and in all other adversities as they do in time of consolation. And if He never sent them consolation, they would still bless and praise Him. ~Thomas a Kempis

In our culture, especially, we can be quick to wonder why God is putting us through trials.  I hear a lot of prayer requests that go like this:  Pray for healing.  Pray for financial provision.  Pray for us to be able to get a new car because the old one requires a lot of work.  I want to be clear that I don’t discourage prayers like this, but I think sometimes we might be praying a bit selfishly.

There is joy and thankfulness to be found in trials.  And it is often in those times that we are closest to God.

The moment of your greatest sacrifice will also be the moment of your greatest and most miraculous blessing. ~ Streams In The Desert

Another aspect of fasting is one that I have been learning a lot about, though I don’t put it as eloquently as Hudson Taylor below: control. I operate a lot of the time (and I think we all might) believing that I am in control.  I think that I will get through my day without getting frustrated at the kids on my own strength.   I think that I will manage my crazy schedule on my own strength.  I think that I will do a lot of things to honor God on my own strength.   Fasting can help us put this tendency in perspective:

Fasting…which requires faith in God, since it makes one feel weak and poorly, is really a Divinely appointed means of grace.Perhaps the greatest hindrance to our work is our own imagined strength; and in fasting we learn what poor, weak creatures we are – dependent on a meal of meat for the little strength which we are so apt to lean upon. ~J. Hudson Taylor

I can benefit a lot from fasting, and am considering adding a modified regular fast to my week.  I’ll let you know how it goes!  I say modified because I am currently pregnant and think it would be smarter to maybe abstain from one item on a certain day than to abstain from all food.  I might choose sugar or desserts.  I might choose dairy.

I invite you to consider adding a regular fast to your week or month.  It doesn’t have to be extreme, but I think any form of abstaining from food would be beneficial.

What would you consider fasting from?  What do you think you would benefit?  What do you think would be a challenge for you?

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Christy can be found at the beach chasing naked toddlers and cheering on her young surfers. She founded One Fun Mom to share her imperfect life and encourage moms to love how God made them. She's delighted to have you join her and her fabulous writing team as you all journey closer to God and learn to love others through His example.

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  1. I am not a good ‘faster’ myself, but after reading this article I am determined to do better. Thanks a lot for sharing this insightful blog post.
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  2. Love this…
    So funny, I went to sleep thinking about a post on fasting, but trying to decide how you approach that in a post online. I think you did a great job and I LOVE that Hudson Taylor quote.
    Kara @ The Chuppies recently posted..A Long Overdue Chuppdate Update #5 (a post for Gramma and in thanks to God)My Profile

  3. Christy, this is something that has been on my mind a lot – something I need to start doing. When I’ve tried it’s been for the wrong motives. Sometimes I’ve even thought about losing weight. Isn’t that horrible? But I have heard from countless people about how fasting really allows us to hear God clearly and grow closer to Him. Thank you for your article! God is speaking to me through it!
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    • Brenda, I think we’ve all maybe done it with the wrong motives at times. Back when I was in high school I did it because everyone else in the youth group was doing it. (um, I think Jesus warns about that!?).

  4. I just got done doing a 21 Daniel Fast with my daughter while seeking direction for her future this fall. I was blessed. We continued to see God’s direction and love for her through it and she is now taking a year off (just graduated from HS) before starting college and she will be joining YWAM for the next 5 months starting in the Dominican Republic. I am at complete peace with it and I know it is because I fasted and prayed right alongside her.
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    • Jennifer, I think it’s so cool that you and your daughter did it together! I do hope that when my 2 year old daughter is older we’ll have that kind of relationship.

      Also, I did YWAM – started at a base in CA and went to Kyrgyzstan! So amazingly great that she’ll get that opportunity.

  5. thank you Jesus I am not alone when it comes to having a hard time to fast but I do it

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