Holy Discontent

| — Rev. Brandon Dirks — |

Holy Discontent – Fasting Away (part 1 of 3)

3 Comments

By: Rev. Brandon Dirks

romans-12-1

By hour 36, I feel my humanity. I am hungry.

“…offer your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” Romans 12:1b

During Lent, I fast from food from sundown Monday to sunrise Wednesday. Three meals. 36 hours. No food. I fast because I have a lot to prove to myself.

Fasting is an ancient spiritual discipline that is unlike any other. It involves the whole self…mind, body, and soul. The other spiritual disciplines: prayer, worship, scripture reading, service, etc., rarely involve such a full immersion, or commitment, to engage the heart of God. All day long, you are reminded that you are going without. And with each hunger pang, I am reminded of God. It is hard to explain what disciplined, intentional fasting can do to one’s spiritual life to someone who has never done it. It changes you. It is changing me. While all the spiritual disciplines change us, fasting truly transforms. It changes my day. It changes my outlook. It changes what I think about. It makes me more deliberate in my interactions with others. It makes me more aware of my limitations. It makes me rely on God more than myself. When I am empty, I experience God’s fullness! Fasting makes me face my humanity.

True worship involves your whole body. Too many Christians barely engage their minds in worship. When some occasionally attend a worship service, they sit passively in their seats, mumble through the hymns, check out what others are wearing, or search to find something to complain about. No wonder attendance at worship services are declining across ALL Christendom! The church has unwittingly taught that worship is simply an event one attends—when it is convenient! Fasting helps me worship God all day long—with my whole self!

Tomorrow, Part 2: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world…” Romans 12:2a

 

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3 thoughts on “Holy Discontent – Fasting Away (part 1 of 3)

  1. Pingback: Holy Discontent – Fasting Away (part 2 of 3) | Holy Discontent

  2. What you did with fasting scares me to death. The discipline required, how did you work? I am somewhere between awe and intrigue. This challenges me to wonder if I could commit to one day.

    • Sharon, don’t be in awe. I started out a few years ago by fasting just one meal a day (and then I would eat a huge buffet after to make up for it!!). Later I matured in fasting by a “eat to live, not live to eat” approach by not skipping a meal, but denying myself all unhealthy foods and eating only what is nationally necessary at every meal during Lent. Last year, I merged the “eat to live” plan with fasting from two meals in a row. It is this year I added the 36 hours. My point is that I built up to it. When I teach people to fast, I walk alongside them by encouraging them to first determine WHY they want to fast. There are good reasons to fast and poor reasons to fast. Second, we work to find a plan that pushes the person just to the edge of their comfort zone, but not too far. The plan must also include a spiritual discipline approach that includes disciplined reading, praying, and journaling. Sometimes having a group who is also exploring fasting helps. After a season of fasting, then it is good to explore what more you can do. Overall…it is a step process. My advice to you is to start praying and asking God to help you decide when and how to fast. I’d be happy to help you! Brandon

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