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Do’s and Don’ts of a spiritual fast

Do’s and Don’ts of a spiritual fast 

By Bibi Babatunde-Ikotun

Hello, welcome to my blog. If you clicked on this link it’s either you’re fasting already or are planning to fast. The good thing is you’re planning to have an effective fast by seeking all the information you can get on this. I won’t waste much of your time and I’ll get into it.

Don’ts of fasting

Have a Transactional mindset: A long time ago I thought fasting was about doing something so God will bless you. This led to a string of disappointment because I never got what I wanted from him. After all, I deprived myself for God but He didn’t do his part. We must first understand that fasting is not to move God, it’s to help us align with the move he’s made. The bible says in Ephesians 1.3 (NKJV) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. God is always on our side, we need not deal with him on a transaction basis. We fast to train ourselves as soldiers of the lord! We fast to help us concentrate on our intimacy with him which refreshes us. We are not fasting to be blessed, we're blessed already because we're in Christ. 

Disobey your body: What will it profit you to fast up until the state that you just sleep all day? You’re too weak to fast, pray or worship? That is just a hunger strike. If you can’t make it till 6, break early and give glory to God. You’ve not sinned by breaking earlier. Fasting is not about how much you can discomfort yourself. See there are some days you’ll fast and not even think of food, other days not so much. The length of your fast does not determine how God will visit you. God looks at the heart, he’ll rather you fast till 1pm with a sincere heart than till 6pm just because of. There’s grace available, tap into it.  Also, because you're fasting does not mean you should look like you're in penury. Look smart, smile, radiate God's glory. If you find yourself struggling to do any of these things, re-evaluate your fast. 

Matthew 6.16-18 (NKJV)“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Break your fast haphazardly: After a day of crazy hunger, makes sense to pour anything in your mouth once it’s time to break the fast. Ease into it slowly, this is an important health benefit. Maybe start with a fruit or some clear soup before you proceed to solid meals. Even though your body acts like it will die, it won’t. The human body can stay without food for about 40 days. Eat healthy when you break your fast. Things that will nourish your body and vitalize your body for the rest of your fast. 

-Condemn yourself: When you mistakenly eat when fasting, it’s not the call to condemn yourself during your fast. Simply put the food away and continue. Your fast is not your determination for salvation! It doesn’t change God’s mind about you. When you find yourself doing things you shouldn't be doing, simply repent and continue steadfastly in your faith. Don't let any form of condemnation come into your space. God has not condemned you, you should not condemn yourself. Romans 8.1 (NIV) Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 

-Gossip: This is generally discouraged in the body of Christ and it’s highly bad to gossip about others and their fasting habits or lack thereof. Your ability to fast doesn’t make you’re more righteous or better than the other person. God has made us all righteous in Christ. This is also a time to avoid offences with people. Be gentle as a dove, avoid strife, malice, altercations etc. Be at peace with all men. I really love this verse below that shows the importance of conduct during and even after fast. Conduct consistent with a believer. 

Isaiah 58:3-4 (NIV3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. 4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. 

Do’s of fasting 

- Prayer: If your prayer routine during your fasting season isn’t more than it used to be when you were not fasting, you need to take a pause to re-evaluate. The essence of fasting is for you to be committed to concentrating when you speak and hear from God. The periods you’d ideally use to cook and eat should not be spent idly on TV or Social media. Those are times to spend time in prayer. If you’re not praying more while fasting, you may be doing a hunger strike. You will see that the apostles added prayer to fasting in Acts14: 23 (NIV) Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. Even the woman at the temple followed the same pattern in Luke 2:37 (NIV) and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.

- Worship: As you fast, please take the time to worship the Lord. Worship is what believers do to respond to all God has done. You may be very busy but find some time to worship God in songs, in hymns, in tongues etc Acts 13:2 (NIV) shows that the apostles worshipped and fasted While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”

Bible study: Everything I said about prayer applies to bible study as well. It’s time to go deeper into studying the word. Not just scheming or reading to fulfil all righteousness but to dig deep and understand scriptures as intended by the writer. Open your heart of spiritual revelation of verses you’ve once read but never understood. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you. Have a plan on what you’d like to study, it can be by themes e.g forgiveness, love, peace etc or by bible characters or by bible books. Open up the concordance, cross reference words with the Aramaic and Greek words. This is not time for your regular bible study, this is time to get lost in unpacking what scripture says.

- Give: As you spend time in worship reflecting on all that God has done for you in Christ, it should motivate you to give to people. It doesn’t have to be financial, it can be your time, attention, expertise etc. Find creative ways to contribute meaningfully to the people around you.

Isaiah 58:6-7 (NIV) “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

- Be aware of temptations: This is a season of concentration, be mindful about distractions because the devil will be lurking around finding ways to sneak tempting thoughts into your mind. It’s okay to cut out social media, tv, idle conversations. If your phone use time is more than 4 hours but you still complain of not having the time to pray and study the work then you need to re-evaluate your values. If the devil tempted Jesus while He was fasting, He will tempt you too. Luke 4:2 (NIV) where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.

I hope these points will help you be prepared for a marvellous fasting season. Please add other useful tips for fellow readers in the comment session below. Check out Why should Christians fast. Remember, it's about a time of dedicating yourself to God.

With love,

Bibi 


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