Intermittent fasting has the power to benefit us physically, mentally and emotionally. Those benefits go deep and wide. However, the spiritual benefits are by far, the best part of intermittent fasting.
This is the last post in this series and we’ve truly saved the best for last.[featured-image single_newwindow=”false” alt=”Intermittent Fasting For The Spirit”]Image from Dollar Photo Club Created in Canva[/featured-image]
Throughout the bible, we see people humbling themselves before God by fasting. This is true for the Jewish nation in the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament Christians.
For centuries, fasting has been an ordinary part of the lives of people who walk with God. If you’re a follower of Jesus as I am. And you believe in holistic health, then intermittent fasting should become a regular part of your routine.
You may be asking yourself: “Why is he talking about spiritual fasting? I thought this blog was about health.” Well, yes it is. And I’m glad you asked. We cannot talk about holistic health, without addressing the spirit.
The word of God establishes a clear distinction between our bodies, souls and spirits. (1 Thessalonians 5:23) (Hebrews 4:12)
We’re created in the image of God as tripartite (three-part) beings. God exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We’re made in his image, designed with three parts to our being as well (body, soul and spirit). (Genesis 1:26-27)
C.S. Lewis said: “We are a spirit; we have a soul; and we live in a body.” I couldn’t agree more. We must approach holistic health by nurturing the whole person.
In our pursuit of vibrant health and vitality, it’s to our folly that we only consider the physical. Sadly, most healthcare practitioners do just that. They’re training keeps them stuck in the physical.
By nurturing the whole person: body, soul and spirit, we experience synergy. The english word synergy has its root in the greek “synergos” which means working together. In the holistic health model, our parts work together to produce something greater.
Holism means the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In the holistic health model, by nurturing the whole person, we achieve higher levels of vitality than we ever could by physical pursuits alone.
We’re encouraged to pursue sanctification (holiness) in all aspects of our being (1 Thessalonians 5:23) This is for our benefit. We mustn’t view holiness as something we have to do. It’s something we get to do.
God is the source of our being. We must stay connected to him in order to thrive. Intermittent fasting prepares us to hear from God.
Of course we talk to God in prayer, but we need to be listening in prayer as well. Intermittent fasting removes the static from our communication lines with God.
The bible tells us to be still and know that he is God. (Psalm 46:10) We need to be still in our minds in order to hear from God.
Intermittent fasting brings stillness to our minds, allowing us to hear from God. When we hear from God more clearly, our spirits are strengthened. This fortifies the whole person.[shareable]’Intermittent fasting removes the static from our communication lines with God.’ – David Sandstrom[/shareable]
Why should New Testament Believers fast? Because, it awakens our awareness of God’s presence. Fasting is not radical Christianity. It’s normal Christianity. Jesus didn’t say “if” you fast. He said “when” you fast. (Matthew 6:16)
God is always ready to have intimate communication with us. In order for effective communication to take place, we’re the ones that need to make adjustments.
We’re instructed to pursue God with everything we’ve got. (Matthew 22:36-37) Fasting draws us nearer to God. However, since God is alway near, we could say, it awakens or heightens our sensitivity to his presence.
In Jesus’ Day, intermittent, spiritual fasting was a normal part of the Jewish culture. Curiously though, Jesus’ disciples were not participating.
When challenged on this practice, Jesus explained that there was no need for them to fast. After he was gone, they would once again fast. (Mark 2:19-20)
In other words, fasting is intended to bring us closer to God. Since Jesus was literally standing right next to them, they had no need to use a spiritual discipline to get any closer.
We, on the other hand, do have this need. The business or hectic pace of life hinders our connectedness to God. Intermittent fasting helps us slow down and reconnect with God.[shareable]’Intermittent fasting helps us slow down and reconnect with God.’ – David Sandstrom[/shareable]
Fasting and praying go together like a hand and glove. Together they pack a powerful punch.
In the scriptures we see some amazing things take place when people fast and pray. A powerful angel appeared before Daniel the prophet, in response to his decision to fast and pray. (Daniel 10: 5-12)
The angel proceeds to tell Daniel that he is highly esteemed because of his humility in fasting and prayer. And that he (the angel) was dispatched the first day of his 21 day fast, but was detained by a demonic force called the prince of Persia.
Daniel then received some powerful insight regarding the future of Israel. God honors the humility that goes along with prayer and fasting.
In the New Testament we see Jesus’ disciples unable to cast out a demon from a young boy. Jesus had to intervene.
Later the disciples asked why they were unable to cast it out and Jesus replied that that kind only comes out by prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:28-29)
Prayer and fasting together, can bring about spiritual breakthroughs.[shareable]’Fasting and praying go together like a hand and glove.’ – David Sandstrom[/shareable]
I like to think of the pursuit of health as preparation for whatever life throws at us. The stronger we are, the more capable we are of handling life’s curve balls. God honors the humility we show by temporarily denying a legitimate physical need for food by strengthening us.
A baby in the womb receives oxygen and nutrients from his or her mother, through the umbilical cord. This is God’s design to grow and prepare the child for life outside the womb.
Babies born premature, face challenges and obstacles that their little bodies are not properly prepared for. Growth does take place outside the womb, but not at the same pace or effectiveness as inside.
In the same fashion, an integral part of God’s design for our growth and preparation is intermittent fasting. We’re strengthened and better prepared for life’s challenges by staying connected to our source of life, which is God.
Prior to Jesus encounter with the woman at the well, the disciples went in to town to get some food. Jesus then proceeded to minister to this woman’s deepest spiritual needs.
When the disciples came back, they urged Jesus to eat. Jesus choose to continue his fast. He then said that he had food they new nothing about. The disciples were confused. His “food” was spiritual nourishment from God the Father. (John 4:31-34)
Finally, there is no more graphic illustration of spiritual nourishment and preparation through fasting, than when Jesus was “led by the Spirit” into the wilderness. There he did a forty day fast in preparation for his earthly ministry. (Matthew 4:1-2)
After this, he was tempted by the devil himself and was prepared for victory, by defeating satan with solid biblical truth. It was no accident that Jesus fasted in preparation for this challenge. You can bet he did plenty of praying as well.
We too can prepare for victory in life, by nourishing our spirits with the discipline of intermittent, spiritual fasting.
In this post we learned that intermittent fasting can:[callout]
I hope I’ve inspired you to at least give intermittent fasting a try. If you’re ready to get going, see my first post in this series for detailed recommendations and best practice guidelines.
I’d love to hear from you about your experience with intermittent fasting. If you feel inspired, leave a comment below. I will reply to you.
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