There were a season, some years ago, where I found myself becoming increasingly negative about fasting, especially longer fasts (more than 3 days, while still drinking fluids).
I knew that fasting is an important spiritual biblical discipline, which Jesus and His disciples practiced, but I began to think that fasting comes at a high price.
I wrestled with all the perceived negatives of fasting, like the cost to the health of your body, the deterioration of your muscles and you’ll probably look like a starving child from Somalia, which is not an inspiring image!
I thought that fasting is something we sometimes have to do, but it’s a necessary evil, a price to pay to follow God.
How wrong I was!
Fasting? Isn’t that an archaic form of starving that religious nuts do to themselves?
Isn’t fasting harmful to your physical health?
Actually, science has in recent years shown that fasting has incredible benefits to your health. More and more secular people are using fasting to not only lose weight, but also to heal their bodies of a whole number of conditions.
Who would have thought?
Jesus fasted for 40 days and the Apostles fasted often. Jesus spoke about fasting to His followers by saying, “when you fast”.
Jesus expected His followers to fast.
Fasting is a powerful spiritual discipline encouraged in the Scriptures, however many Christians have a negative perception of fasting.
The Complete Guide to Fasting
I recently discovered a secular book on fasting called The Complete Guide to Fasting – heal your body through intermittent fasting, alternate day and extended fasting by a Canadian doctor Jason Fung.
I was shocked! A secular book on the benefits of fasting!
The book is filled with scores of personal stories of people who were healed in their physical bodies due to fasting.
A few of the benefits of fasting (from the Complete Guide to Fasting, Jason Fung):
- A near total “reset” of immune function with fasts 3 – 5 days. The old white-blood cells are discarded and the body builds a stronger immune system.
- Abnormal and or pre-cancerous cells are discarded. Dr Thomas Seyfried, professor of biology at Boston college, propose a seven-day water-only fast once a year to protect the body from cancer.
- Protects from Alzheimer’s disease. Ketone bodies are released when we fast and it has been found to stimulate brain development and heal the nerves in your brain.
- You don’t lose muscle when you fast. Growth hormone is released that stimulates muscle growth and body builders are beginning to use intermittent fasting to lose fat, but to keep on training and building muscle.
- You have more energy, you are sharper mentally and fasting leads to heart health.
Science proved the Bible. Again.
As I read through the pages of the Complete Guide to Fasting book I realised how ignorant I was. How little I knew about the benefits of fasting and I came to the realisation, that every command in Scripture is good for us and those around us.
God, the Creator of the world and the human body, designed us in a specific way.
He built into our bodies the benefits of fasting, so when Scripture tells us to fast we don’t only experience spiritual breakthrough but also physical blessing.
How about it?
Maybe it’s time for you to fast.
A few practical tips for fasting:
- When you start to fast, especially for the first time, your body will struggle. It’s not even hunger pains, but rather habit pains. We are so used to eating a certain amount of times a day that our body needs to discover the joy of fasting.
- Your body was designed to consume all the fat stored in your body when you don’t eat. So don’t worry, you won’t die, you simply need to train your body to fast.
- Hunger is merely a hormone telling you to eat, and it comes in waves. Just let the wave pass, drink some water, and set your thoughts on God.
- Start small, by skipping a meal, and then skip two meals in the day and grow your fasting fitness from there.
- Instead of eating and spending the time to make food, now rather spend time in God’s word and pray. Let heaven feed your soul and spirit!
Some of the best times I’ve ever spent with God was during times of fasting, when I leaned into Him and He filled me up. At times like those you don’t even feel like you’re fasting!
At times like that heaven draws near, and the challenges of this world fade into the background.
When are you going to start to fast?
PPS: Post a comment below and share some of your highlights of fasting.