Wednesday, January 26, 2011
More thoughts on Fasting
Well this has been a most interesting almost three weeks! Watch out, you who may be subscribed to this blog, hopefully you won't be overwhelmed by all that may come spilling out of me! :) Ah well, it's God anyway.
This whole experience of fasting has been really eye opening. I came across this verse, and it describes so well the purpose and plan of God in fasting. Here's how it kind of breaks down:
2 Corinthians 7:1
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
2 Corinthians 7:1-3 (in Context) 2 Corinthians 7 (Whole Chapter)
"Therefore, since we have these promises..."
Fasting, for me, had to come out of a spirit of gratefulness. It's not about striving to earn God's approval or acting pitiful before God so that He'll answer my prayers. Fasting (and all spiritual disciplines, for that matter) should spring out of a heart so overwhelmed by the extravagant love of God, that we can't help but respond in every way that is honoring to Him. It should be as natural as the goofy grin we get on our faces when a friend drops off a surprise Starbucks. Fasting is my goofy grin to God.
"let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body..."
Fasts that eliminate certain foods actually set your body into a detoxification mode. Our bodies need a rest from constantly having to process out the mess we put into it. There's a whole physiology that I don't claim to know anything about, but I do know that 2-3 Diet Cokes per day probably weren't helping my little cells do their thing.
One of the weirdest side-effects (I guess you can call it that) of this fast, is that I haven't had a desire to watch certain things or engage in certain forms of entertainment. There's a video game that my husband and I regularly play together as a way to have a cheap date of sorts. Since we started the fast, I've had no desire to play. Not an aversion, really, but it just hasn't crossed my mind as something I'd like to do! I've been sleeping a whole lot more, which is good for the body and the spirit, I think. Because I've made too much a habit of staying up way too late watching some stupid show or another.
Instead, I've been really trying to make a point to meet with God every day and to feed into the gaps left by cutting out certain entertainments.
"perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."
The word "perfect" has always tripped me up when it shows up in scripture. I associate "perfect" with way too many failures in my life. I've learned, though, that it is acceptable/biblical/scholarly accurate to substitute the word "perfect" in scripture for "mature". So this Paul is writing about "maturing in holiness..." This makes so much sense to me. When we mature, things that used to interest us no longer interest us. Things that didn't used to make sense start to click into place. Impatience gives way to a longer-term vision. Maturing is an awesome result of fasting. And we want to be mature, because reverence for God requires maturity. God deserves to be honored for the place He holds in this universe. Yes, He is intimate and good and ever-present, but He is also the Creator, the giver of life, the One who is wiser than any man could ever dream. As much as I want to cultivate my knowledge of His immediacy, I also want to devote time toward cultivating my awe of His transcendence.
So that's the Bible-student version of what's been going on during this fast.
How has that played out in real life? I've been woken up to dreams I had forgotten about, challenged in my faith, blessed in ways I may have missed before, been exposed to parts of my soul that are downright nasty, and come into a new appreciation for God's sovereignty. I hear Him more easily, obey Him a little more readily, and worship Him more passionately.
None of this is because I am awesome, it is because HE is. There are things God is showing me about myself that Satan would love to magnify until I'm so swallowed up shame that I can't move. But God's not about condemnation, He is about restoration.
Oh I have so much to share. :)
Look out blogger world. She's on Fiiiiaaaa!