I’ve never fasted. Never on purpose at least. And I’d guess that most of the Christians that I grew up with never did either. Our little tribe wasn’t much for that particular discipline of submission. We were always of the inclination to push through rituals by sheer intellectual force, with a dash of proof-texting (just to be sure we didn’t HAVE to do it).
I should stop here. I’m not even sure I’m allowed to talk about fasting … isn’t it one of those things that we’re supposed to do, but not talk about. If someon came into church on a Sunday morning and told you…
“OOOH boy, am I hungry! Why you ask? Oh, I’ve just been FASTING, for the LORD. You know, showing my ever growing humility to God so that he would shine his favor down on me. Hey, is that a bagel in your hand? Are you gonna eat it? Wait, no, I can’t, you see… IM FASTING!”
… then you could banish them to the baby cry room for all eternity, right?
That’s basically what it’s like for me to write about it, isn’t it?
Recently, I feel like I’ve really and genuinely needed to fast. I feel like I’ve been leaning on my own instinct and skill set so much, that I may have drowned out the Spirit’s voice in my life. My soul feels dried up like I’ve been squeezing it for some God-power, only to find that it’s a husk of what it once was. I’ve been asking myself if maybe I needed to show myself what hunger and dependence should be like. Maybe I need to step up by stepping away from the opulence that I’m neck deep in.
But since I’m a noob, I’m not sure of the ground rules. Are there hard and fast rules that I need to stick with for God to say, “Yeah, this guy means it”. I mean, fasting from my Xbox I don’t think is going to display to God my fear and reverence of this almighty wisdom. It’s going to show him that I can catch up on Episodes of LOST instead of finishing up Call of Duty.
How long do I have to fast for? Days? Months? Years? I know that the longer I go without X, the more it may effect me, but to what extent? Is there a line at which I could go without X for so long that ultimately I don’t even want it anymore, thereby rendering the fast null?
Do I fast from luxury or necessity? If I fast from necessity, do I still get to play with my luxury; because honestly, that would make it much easier to deal with, I would think.
Can I tell my wife? I know the whole, “Don’t let your left hand know what you’re right hand is doing” thing is important in a bunch of spiritual practices, but my wife may think I’ve gone nuts if she doesn’t see me sitting down to a lightly garnished slab of red meat for more than 3 days.
I’ve got more questions, but I’ll stop here.
So, I want to fast, I feel the need to fast, but I want to know how to do it right, in a twenty-first century, American Christian who has too much stuff kind of way. Can we get some folks on this and just print up a quick rule book for the rest of us? That would be great.