A fast is a time of concentrated focus and attention on a specific area of our lives. Detox fasts focus on the body. Spiritual fasting focuses on the soul and uses the body as a conduit. Spiritual fasting is just as physical as it is spiritual since the act of abstaining from food is what makes spiritual fasting a fast.
As with any kind of fasting, denying the body food requires you to discipline and control the desires of the flesh. This is a central theme in our walk with Christ, so spiritual fasting fits right in with that. Denying the body food also enables us to direct our focus away from the body’s needs and make more room for God in our lives. Read on to learn about the physical benefits of fasting
and see if it’s right for you.
Benefits of Spiritual Fasting
God’s Word refers to fasting 77 times throughout the Old and New Testaments. From Job to King David, to Jesus, to Paul, fasting often marked a turning point where important decisions or choices were about to be made. Spiritual fasting also allows us to choose the attitude with which we’ll face the situation we’re in.
Since the overall goal of a spiritual fast is to deepen your spiritual experience, there may well be other things you can abstain from beside food. While a food fast can result in many benefits, fasting from anything that has a hold over you or which takes up large amounts of your time and attention may also be considered
. This includes things like time spent on the internet, shopping, or watching television. While a food fast tends to pack a more physical “punch,” abstaining from anything that captures your emotion or attention to focus on your faith offers the same sense of freedom from worldly things.
Spiritual Fasting Deepens Our Relationship with God
With the nonstop demands and responsibility of daily living, it can be especially hard to walk in the beliefs and values that characterize the Christian lifestyle. Add to this the less than moral norms that predominate in today’s world and the pressures to conform, and it becomes that much easier to neglect our relationship with God. Much like any relationship in our lives, spending quality time nurturing and cultivating the bonds we share with God is essential to keeping our relationship with Him strong. Spiritual fasting offers a way to cut through the “noise” and focus on this precious relationship we have with our Creator. In effect, spiritual fasting helps us to keep our priorities in check.
Connecting with the Holy Spirit
Along with forgiveness of sins, being “born again” gives us the privilege of receiving the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit lives inside us and has the ability to become a vital force in our lives if we let Him. Spiritual fasting offers a way to break the hold of the flesh over our thoughts and attitudes and clear the way for a stronger connection with the Holy Spirit.
Spiritual fasting can be done for the purpose of cleansing the soul, as well as for a specific reason or goal. For instance, if you’re going through a difficult time in your life, using a spirit-based fast to gain clarity is one way to approach it. Ultimately, spiritual fasting allows us to see things from a perspective that lines up with the Holy Spirit's calling.
Reconnecting with Our Divine Purpose
As another benefit of spiritual fasting, reconnecting with our divine purpose in this life means becoming more in tune with our sacred design. God has a specific purpose for each of us. Spiritual fasting allows us to gain clarity on what our individual purpose in God’s plan is. In the process of fasting, we also obtain the faith and courage to walk out this purpose in our daily lives.
Since fasting without food is a big part of spiritual fasting, it’s an opportune time to detox and cleanse the body of harmful toxins
. Pollutants in our food, air, and water weaken the body’s health, which makes it that much harder to maintain a close relationship with God. The health benefits from detoxing work to strengthen the body and the mind, which naturally transfers over to your walk with the Lord.
Is Spiritual Fasting Right for You?
God’s Word offers us a manual for living the very best life that we can in this world. Spiritual fasting allows us to get closer to God and worship Him in a very personal and powerful way. The Gospel of Luke 2:37 gives us an example of this level of relationship with God, "Then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying." Like any other relationship in our lives, the more time we devote to being with God, the stronger our relationship with Him gets. So, if you’re seeking a closer walk with God, spiritual fasting may well be the way to go.