Monday, September 5, 2016

Spiritual Detox

One of my favorite areas of the Christian walk is the privilege and the power of prayer.  Through the years, this area has matured me, strengthened me, upheld me and comforted me. Many times in the Bible 'fasting' is mentioned along side of prayer. The subject of fasting has intrigued me, but usually not enough to do put an action to it.

What is Christian fasting? Although fasting in Scripture is almost always a fasting from food, there are other ways to fast. Anything you can temporarily give up in order to better focus on God can be considered a fast with the purpose to focus on a period of spiritual growth.  Biblical fasting is a spiritual discipline which was encouraged by Jesus, Himself, while He was on earth. Biblical fasting brings us into a closer union with God. 

Too often, the focus of fasting is on the lack of food. However, the purpose of fasting is to take our eyes off the things of this world and instead to focus on God. Fasting is a way to demonstrate to God and to ourselves that we are serious about our relationship with Him. 

Christian fasting isn't some kind of a "work" that's commanded by Christ or required by Scripture. However, that doesn't mean that fasting isn't recommended as a part of our spiritual growth. The benefits of turning our hearts and attention to God will surely bring changes to our hearts and lives.

For a while, I've been trying to eat better.  After much research, I know what it 'clean food' and what types of food to avoid.  The tools of better nutrition, measure, evaluate, record and stick to an eating plan are etched in the mind but not coming out in my actions.  A candy bar or biscuit would quickly sidetrack my 'plan'.  A friend had been sharing a 7 day detox meal plan with herbal detox water.  After pondering it for several weeks, I committed to and purchased the plan. 

The detox was to begin on a Monday and a few days before, it came into my heart to use this time of abstaining from my daily food choices to spend time in deep prayer and spiritual fasting.  The next day my daily devotional was on fasting and a powerful Scripture about fasting - Isaiah 58.  As I pored over this passage several truths dawned in my heart.  Commitment, sacrifice, focus became clear parallels in my physical detox and spiritual fasting. 

I'm going to take a few posts to share but the first step is commitment.  For the detox, I contacted the person, met her and paid for the program. To fast, it begins with a prayer of commitment. A plan must be set out of what is to be fasted and a heartfelt prayer asking God to meet and change the heart.

My favorite Scripture about fasting comes from Isaiah 58.  It begins with a contrast of the people of Israel's regular routine of fasting - out of obligation or tradition and the true purposes of a fast chosen by God.  Why do we do the things we do, what is the intent or purpose behind it.  The motive needs to be determined before we start.  As a Christian, we should hold dear to us the things that Christ holds dear. We'll see some of that as this series progresses! 

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Thank you for sharing your commment. It is a joy and blessing to hear from you and your words are appreciated.