|Fresh vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet.|
The prophet Daniel did this successfully. When he was in exile in Babylon, they brought him the royal food and wine to eat and drink. But Daniel made a personal choice not to eat it, because he did not want to defile himself with this food. So he kindly asked that they feed him and the other Hebrew men with him only vegetables and water for ten days. He said, "Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink.” (Dan 1:12). The test worked. He and the other Hebrew men were healthier looking after ten days on vegetables and water than the non-Hebrew wise men who ate the king’s choice food and wine.
That was under the Old Covenant, before Christ. Since Jesus has declared all foods clean, we no longer need to be concerned that any food will defile us. Paul said that he was able to even eat meats that had been sacrificed to demon idols. He said, “But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat.” (1Co 8:8). So he was free to eat it. However, he was guided by love, and would not eat such meat if it offended the conscience of another disciple that felt it was a sin to do so.
Our motive for fasting, therefore, should not be to avoid spiritual defilement. But fasting is a normal part of life for the disciple of Christ. Jesus said, "When you fast..." and then gave instructions on how to do so with a right heart. He didn't say, "If you fast..." (Mt 6:17).
He Himself fasted for forty days without food or water on one occasion. It's not advisable to try this. One reason is that most of us are too accustomed to eating three meals a day, and we are full of toxins. If we were to try this kind of complete fast for that long, it could be enough to kill you. But there are other kinds of fasts that you can do for shorter periods.
If your desire is to fast for biblical reasons, the Word of God tells us what our motive should be. "Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? "Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?" (Isa 58:6-7). This kind of fasting is pleasing to the Lord.
When you fast in this way, you can expect to see a beneficial change in your own life. The passage of Scripture I just cited about godly fasting goes on to say: "Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; You will cry, and He will say, 'Here I am.' If you remove the yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness, And if you give yourself to the hungry And satisfy the desire of the afflicted, Then your light will rise in darkness And your gloom will become like midday. And the LORD will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail." (Isa 58:8-11)
The light of God will come forth from your very being and be evident in your eyes. You will experience recovery. The Lord will protect you. Your communion with God will be firmly reestablished. It will even provide an emotional lift. It'll give strength to your bones, and you will be rejuvenated like a garden that's been watered well.
Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.
Author's note: The IHOP Kansas City has an excellent set of fasting guidelines that I recommend reading. This post is part of a series. If you enjoyed it, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the links in the side bar. You may also access my blog directory at "Writing for the Master."
Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus. Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?
“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15). He preached that we must repent and believe.
Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International. He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.