Preparing to Fast
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I struggle with fasting because I have a love hate relationship with food: I love to eat it, but I hate gaining weight. I find it easier to do intermittent fasting—a method for weight control—than to fast for spiritual growth. When we prepare for a fast, we should take certain steps. We must prepare not only our body, but also our mind, heart and soul.
In(ESV) Jesus says, “There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him. ... For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
We should start with the heart.
A spiritual fast always involves a struggle within my flesh. I find it easier to fast when I take certain steps toward healing. First, I consider my heart and my intentions. Is my heart pure before God, or do I have selfish motivations? Am I trying to gain favor with God through works? Then I ask God how I should renew my mind. Fasting is not only about refraining from eating; it’s an opportunity to spend time focused exclusively on God. I ask God to renew my mind so I can receive what He has in store for me. I ask God to give me humility in my soul in preparation for His Holy Spirit to work within me
Finally, I remember that fasting is a personal choice and discipline. It is not something for us to brag or boast about. It is an act of commitment to Jesus, a spiritual journey undertaken with Him:
“But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Take these steps for a wonderful time of fasting and preparing our hearts to receive what God has for us in every new season. Meditate upon all the things He has done for us: taking our sins upon Himself on the cross and saving us from ourselves. His words are a blessing to us, and His protection is always over us.
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