Monday, March 17, 2008

The Discipline of Fasting

I received one half of my weekly butt-kicking last night as I read Richard Foster's chapter on Fasting in Celebration of Discipline. It was only one half because we're covering Fasting and Solitude this week.

Let me first say that I have tried several times in the past to fast, but never felt like it was very fruitful. I think that's because I have a hard time approaching it in the right spirit, with the right mindset and with the right motives. I think I start out on track but quickly let things get out of focus.

So, it was good to read this chapter and get a renewed perspective on fasting. Here are a few of the things I highlighted:
Perhaps in our affluent society fasting involves a far larger sacrifice
than the giving of money.

Fasting must forever center on God. It must be God-initiated and
God-ordained.

If our fasting is not unto God, we have failed. Physical benefits, success
in prayer, the enduing with power, spiritual insights - these must never replace
God as the center of our fasting.

The last one was particularly tough to swallow because it is so easy to think those other results - all good things - are the reason to fast.
More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us.

Ouch, huh?

Maybe that's the most difficult thing to deal with when fasting. It always seems like when I've tried to fast, my struggles have been amplified and I lose sight of what I'm doing. I guess those things are supposed to be revealed and I'm still supposed to focus on God. There's a challenge!

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