At the end of last year, I had a lot of things going on in my life. My mind, heart, and life were completely cluttered. There was a lot of confusion in just about every area of my life and I didn't know if I should go left or right. I was simply a confused soul. Thankfully God placed it on my heart to go into the new year participating in a partial fast. My fast lasted for three weeks and only consisted of fruits, vegetables, and water. My time during this fast was dedicated to praise & worship, praying, and reading the word of God. The only exception to this schedule was when I had to go to work at my job. Obeying God's word to participate in this fast resulted in 3 great benefits in my life:
- It helped me learn self control - Galatians 5:22-23 teaches us that to have self control is to have the fruit of the spirit. The word fruit has several different meanings according to Webster's Dictionary: *It's usually a sweet food, *It's part of a plant that has seeds in it to grow, or *It's the result or reward that comes from some action or activity. The common denominator in all three definitions is that the word fruit is linked to goodness. It is good to be able to control your flesh, your evil desires, and your temptation to sin. When you fast you learn to say no to eating foods that bring you great pleasure and doing things that please your flesh. It doesn't matter how much a person flaunts that nice, savory, warm apple pie in front of your face, you have to say no due to the fact that it is not part of the food items that can be partaken of during the fast. It doesn't matter how many times your friend pressure you to join her for a full day of shopping, you have to say no because this does not fall in the category of praying, praise & worship, and reading the word of God. When you first learn to have self control in the small things, you can later learn to have self control in the large things. For example: First learning to abstain from certain foods can later teach you how to abstain from participating in fornication or adultery. Lack of self control can lead to sin.
- It delivered me from bring spiritually blind and deaf - Everything in my life was so cluttered and confusing because my eyes were shut and my ears were closed. Jesus speaks of this in Matthew 13:15. He continues saying in Matthew 13:16 "but blessed are your eyes for they see and your ears for they hear." During fasting and praying God was able to help me look past what I saw in the natural, which were deceptions from Satan, to be able to see what was in the spirit realm. The things that God revealed to me in the spirit realm were true and would be released from heaven down to the natural realm in God's perfect timing. God also restored my ears so that it could function in the way he designed them to. He designed our ears to not only hear the things that are going on around us, but also to be able to hear his voice. Most people base their truth on whatever it is that they hear, but if they are only hearing Satan's lies, then his lies become their truth. It is important to be able to hear from God so that we can determine which words that are told to us are actually lies and which words are actually true. Romans 3:4 says "let God be true and every man a liar." How can you know God's word to be true if you cannot hear what it is that he's speaking to you? Fasting resulted in God speaking clearly to me the things that were hidden previously and providing clarity were there was confusion.
- It taught me how to produce a lifestyle that continuously leads me closer to God - When you block out everyone and everything, you have an opportunity to sit before God in silence and commune with him. Setting aside this time for him allows you to form a special bond with him. After all, he's your father and you're his child. When children want to form a stronger bond with their earthly father, what do they do? They set aside time for just them and their father. No one else is invited and all interruptions are not welcomed. We have to learn to do the same thing for our heavenly father. When you fast for extended periods of times, the routines during your fast is integrated into a "new normal" for you. It becomes a newly adopted lifestyle that allows you to go further than just being closer to God, but it allows you to continuously grow closer to God. This journey that we embarked on to be closer to God is not limited to an extended period of time, instead it lasts for a lifetime.