Not So Fast!
By Selma Komisky
Have you ever been convinced by someone or something to make a quick decision? For example, you go to the store or shop online and you notice there’s a red light special and it’s the last time your favorite item is going to be available. So, you feel the pull, and jump on that sale. Or perhaps you are being pressured for various reasons and rush into a relationship and soon you are in an unhealthy situation. Likewise, some churches are currently observing Lent this passion season and some of the congregation say, “well you have to fast and abstain from food and only drink water so you can be more spiritual.” Wrong. First, that’s not God’s heart nor is it very loving. Second, God doesn’t want to force you to do something you might not want to do. God is a gentleman and lets you choose.
In fact, in Matthew 4:1-11 speaks about Jesus’ forty day fast. Let’s be real here. Jesus is God! It is rare for mere human beings to withstand drinking only water for that length of time and is also very detrimental to your health to go long amounts without eating food. Therefore, how can we approach fasting without such a legalistic method during Easter season or anytime of the year? Let’s take a look at fasting and see what that entails.
Many believers all over the world typically start to fast and pray beginning on Ash Wednesday and thereafter until Easter. “Lent is an opportunity to ponder what Jesus Christ really did for us on the cross and take a deeper look at cultivating a more intimate relationship with God.”
People enter fasting with misconceptions. They fast with the wrong motives. Fasting is altogether different than just dieting, taking on a New Year’s resolution, or cutting out bad habits. Fasting is a conscious choice. You decide when it can start and end. Meaning, you have total control over it,
So, what are some things that might be holding you back from having a close relationship and walk with Jesus? Is it a relationship, finances, your time, your affections, etc.?
I think the purpose of willingly removing something from our lives through prayer allows God to reveal to us personally what maybe we have not even realized. Perhaps, even what we have been in bondage to. And through the process of fasting, it helps loose the hold of what is potentially drawing us away from God and draws us closer to Him.
In turn, here are some simple alternative ways to fast that don’t necessarily involve abstaining from food.
1. Social Media:
Many people are conditioned to scrolling, posting, going live, or checking their social media several times a day. By fasting these sites for yourself, you can get back time to devoting your connection to God.
You may enjoy watching your favorite shows throughout the week. However, sometimes TV can be a distraction, and you can become so focused on your programs that you neglect other areas of your life, such as your faith. It could be you are subconsciously your avoiding dealing with something? Instead, why not pray?
3. Eating Out or Ordering In:
People love the convenience of having their favorite meals delivered to their front door. Or, they don’t like the hassle of having to cook. But, it can get expensive, and, you get spoiled. Maybe you can fast by sacrificing eating out and cooking at home? Maybe the money you saved from not eating out (or dining in), can be donated to a charity or a tithed to your church or favorite ministry? Wait on God during that period and see what he reveals to you through your giving and devotional time.
4. Cell Phones:
Yes, what did we do before texting, facetiming, Zomming, pinning, and scrolling? Although phones are a necessity, they are time consuming. So, think about how much time it takes you away from communicating with your loved ones and how much more you might not be communicating with God. Prayer is communicating with God. So, talk to him.
One of your favorite activities may be binging on whole seasons of shows on Netflix or Hulu or, streaming your favorite music on Spotify or Apple Music. However, we as believers have to ask ourselves what are we watching and listening to? Perhaps you could fast secular music or a particular series that you absolutely can’t miss (i.e. what’s the point of fasting if it’s not something that you can’t go without?) Instead, use that time to listen or watch a live church service or podcast and reflect what God is speaking into your life.
6. Serving Others:
We are a very self-focused society. What better way to follow Christ’s example than to serve others? You can fast your time. Serving others gets your eyes off yourself. It makes you re-evaluate how selfish you are and what ways you can make changes with your time management and perspective.
We all have been guilty of overspending and overindulging. One thing we can fast is to stop whatever we have been spending our money on needlessly.
In closing, Fasting is a sacrifice unto God. It’s for his eyes only! I think some people fast to appear spiritual, but their hearts are distant with God. But keep this in mind God loves you and desires to have more of an intimate relationship with you. He is indeed interested in the internal [your heart and authenticity (being real)]. So, God knows who is really being genuine and not just going through the motions and being caught up in the external (religion). Instead, it’s about being a living sacrifice (Romans 1) and all about His love.