What Christians get wrong about fasting
First of all, it's okay to admit that we can be, and have been wrong on things. This is a good and humble thing to admit. I need to admit that I have gotten wrong many times. I'm not alone. The Apostle Peter got it wrong and was called out publicly by the Apostle Paul.
"When Peter came to Antioch, I told him face to face that he was wrong." Galatians 2:11
How did he respond? With humble acceptance and change. So, I just need to affirm, this is okay, because I'm going to tell you to your face, so to speak, where we have gotten it wrong when it comes to a very important spiritual discipline; fasting.
1. It's not designed to cause suffering for God.
The Gospel message is embodied by the idea that Christ took our suffering and punish that we may live in grace. The idea that we would enact some form of suffering in order to appease or even draw closer to God is anti-Gospel. Yes, the act of drawing near to God may in fact be a very painful process as we repent and humble ourselves, but the act fasting is not designed to be so. Fasting is a discipline to be used in conjunction with prayer. We pray as a two way conversation to God. Sometimes that communication is stifled by lack of clarity and focus, or inability to hear God. Fasting puts the body in a new physiological state that literally amplifies the ability to cognitively function and focus, thereby leveling up your pray and communication to God. How do it do this? God created your body to use energy from two sources...glucose, and ketones. Glucose comes from carbohydrates and ketones come from mobilized body fat reserves. When we fast, the body shift from glucose to ketones, which is the preferred source for the brain. You HAVE to deplete glucose in order for that to happen, and what is the best way to do that? Fasting
2. It shouldn't be hard.
If you are an average American and you've ever fasted, you've learned that fasting is very challenging. Unfortunately, you've been convinced that what is common is right. Well, fasting shouldn't be hard. But it is. Why? The Standard American Diet (SAD) doesn't allow for metabolic flexability. Our ancient brothers and sisters had an advantage. Their diets and lifestyles allowed them to transition back and forth between using glucose and ketones quite easily and often. They didn't feel sluggish after a day or two of not eating. They didn't get sugar and food cravings. They didn't suffer hypoglycemic effects. The good news is we don't have to either. Just learning how to prepare for a fast correctly by transitioning your diet before hand would alleviate all of those symptoms. How do I know? I went from fasting as a carb burner to fasting ketogenically and it changed my life. I've fasted 30 days and ran a 5k on the 30th day. I could've fasted longer. I fast twice a week with 24 hour fasts, 3 days a month and one week a year. I've done 14 and 21 day fasts many times. Fasting when fat adapted changes the game and allows for mental clarity, energy, lack of hunger, and hightened intimacy with the Lord, without the background noise of feeling "challenged". I've coached hundred of people to fast correctly and can attest at the difference they've seen. Fasting has gone from being seen as a hardship to an enjoyment.
3. It's personal not private
The Lord instructed us in Matthew 6 how not to fast. We shouldn't hang our heads and draw attention to our selves in order to garner pity or praise. That's stealing God's glory. Instead, He instructs us to clean ourselves up and go on about our day normally. Many have seen this as keeping it a secret. Sacred doesn't have to be secret. He did't say to keep it hidden from people. We should not shy away from practicing spiritual disciplines. As a matter of fact, we could use these instances as teaching moments. We could share our faith or encourage a brother or sister. Many Christians don't fast or don't know how to. You could be the one to instruct them and help them.
4. Fasting is designed with food in mind.
You can fast from anything. Often times, I believe that fasting from things besides food is tremendously beneficial. Anything that has competed for God's attention in our lives is probably do a fast. Albeit, it may be social media, television, hobbies, cell phones, or video games. Taking those away for a while is just good practice and is a type of fast. But don't be deceived, fasting was designed with food in mind. As stated before, it is God's biological engineering to put a person in a metabolic advantage. It's His way of upgraded your hardware to receive a better signal! What about fasting from types of foods? I would suggest you look at the reason. Are you fasting from soda? Is it because it has become an addiction? Do it. But do in with the same mindset as fasting from the x-Box. Let it be a bondage breaker. Fasting from sugar or junk food? Really? Why not just cut that crap out altogether! Fast from it for the rest of your life. But if you want to dial in the rabbit ears of prayer, fast from food and transition your energy source.
5. Fasting must be all or none.
For many people, fasting for long periods of time is an impossibility. Due to sickness, disease, or physical impairment fasting can be dangerous. Diabetics are a good example. Or for those who have to take medications daily and cannot with an empty stomach. All cases should be considered, and tailored to fit the individual. If, for instance, taking medication on an empty stomach causes problems, perhaps taking it with bone broth would sooth the situation. If you can't fast for long periods, try multiple short bouts of fasting. Consider intermittent fasting. If you stop eating by 8pm and skip breakfast, you could easily do a 18 hour fast. Your liver would have time during the night to metabolize it's glycogen. If your last meal is purely protein and fat, you will have jump on the glycogen depletion too. You could enjoy a wonderful morning completely fasted and enjoying your quiet time with the Lord.
I'm not dismissing the spiritual basis for fasting. Taking the time to fast, to dedicate to the Lord is sacred. Choosing to deny yourself and focusing on God is righteous and Biblical. Just the 'idea' of fasting is sacred and spiritual. But, if we're going to get it right and be successful we won't overlook the divine engineering that makes fasting capable and the divine purpose that makes it enjoyable.
To take advantage of my fasting challenge and get a full Bible led devotional about fasting and the best steps to implement for a successful fast, email me at email@example.com