One of the more powerful spiritual disciplines available to Christians is fasting. Spiritual fasting requires dedication and is a great way to connect with God and grow spiritually. Of course, Jesus taught and exemplified this throughout his life on earth. We read in Matthew 4:1-2 that Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert after being baptized, to demonstrate his dedication to His Father. Spiritual fasting is a biblically-based opportunity to recognize your full dependence on the Lord. Use the fasting tips below to guide you through the process.
What are the benefits of spiritual fasting?
Spiritual fasting has many benefits. A few of them are:
A deepened connection to and dependence on God
Mental discipline to rethink worldly wants and needs
A less self-centered point of view (building the fruits of the Spirit)
A less clouded mind, allowing you to truly hear God’s voice
Renewed gratefulness for God’s blessings and presence
Spiritual Fasting Tips to Determine Your ‘Why’ for Spiritual Fasting.
Fasting is the practice of eliminating food for a period of time. Whether it's one meal a day, a day of not eating, or even a couple of days or weeks, this is a time to solely rely on the Lord to satisfy and sustain you. You can also fast from things other than food, including social media, coffee, sugar, television, etc. The purpose is to eliminate things in your life that distract you from time with God or things you may feel dependent on. Before fasting, pray about it. Ask the Lord to show you what you should fast from and why you should fast. What outcome should you be looking for? Any time you feel dependent on things of this world, make a conscious effort to practice fasting and fixing your heart on Christ.
Create a spiritual fasting game plan.
Just as with most things in the sports industry, you must create a game plan for your quiet times with God so that life in the sports world doesn’t defeat you. If anything, creating a game plan and prioritizing time with the Lord each day will make your journey in the sport industry much more peaceful and enjoyable. But be mindful, making this daily sacred time a priority will take serious commitment and intentionality for it to become a routine in your life.
To make fasting a consistent part of your life and not just a one-time thing, it is essential to set aside intentional time with the Lord. What part of the day will it be, morning or night? Maybe during your lunch break? How long will you spend in quiet time with the Lord each day? 15 minutes may be a good starting spot and then build on from there as you develop some routine! The key early on is to create something consistent each day so make sure you are aware of your schedule and when it works best for you. This will help you stay focused and committed to your spiritual fast.
Choosing a place for your everyday quiet time that is comfortable, quiet, and as free of distractions as possible is crucial to the success of your spiritual fasting. Reading a “verse of the day” in the car on your way to work isn’t ideal. And, if you travel frequently with your team, it can be even more difficult to find a place. Make it a priority to get somewhere quiet with just you and God, whether it be your bedroom, couch, or office space.
God created everyone in His image but unique in their own ways. The same goes for quiet time...we all need time with our Creator but that time may look different for each person. This time could include scripture reading, prayer, journaling, or worship music. Whatever you choose, we encourage you to combine a few of these to create a powerful and productive structure in building your relationship with God. One spiritual fasting tip to get you started is to read Purpose Driven Life, look up additional scriptures from the chapter, journal your thoughts on the daily page, and then close in prayer.
It is important to recognize the potential barriers you will face because you WILL face temptation to break your spiritual fast. Do you keep social media apps on your phone, even during your social media fast? Do you know that your coworkers are ordering food on a certain day? Are you less likely to spend quiet time with God if you haven’t gotten your work done for the day? These barriers and temptations will require you to turn to the Lord in prayer and focus your full dependence on God – which is the point of your fast! Knowing them ahead of time helps you anticipate, and overcome them.
It is good to have a couple of partners in mind to keep you accountable throughout your spiritual fast. While your fast is strictly between you and God, we are human, and God gave us earthly companionship to help each other. You can lean on accountability partners to talk through temptation, check in on progress, and encourage discipline. And while accountability partners are good, there's no need to post about your spiritual fast on social media or make people feel bad that you're not eating (Matthew 6:16-18). Again – this is between you and God.
Once you decide on time, place, and format, the only thing left to do is commit to your spiritual fast! It only takes a few weeks to turn these commitments/habits into a transformational lifestyle. To get started with spiritual fasting, we suggest fasting one thing for 40 days. Give it a try!
While it can be difficult, spiritual fasting is a powerful way to be in full communion with and depend on the Lord, and these fasting tips can help you get started with your journey. Learn more about spiritual development from Uncommon Sports Group, and explore what becoming a member could do for you and your faith.