| Fasting to Be Full.|
Any thoughts/experience with fasting welcome to create a dialogue.
The Goal of this outline is to give evidence to the logic of fasting in relation to building intimacy with God.
Main Scripture: Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me. Rev. 3:20
I. STARVING TO GET FULL
A. It is a paradox in the human sense to blend deliberate hunger with the idea one may get full as a result.
1. The problem arises with our normal thought process of how hunger makes you eat and you then become full after eating.
2. Fasting which is the concept we will be studying suggests the opposite
a. Dont Eat.
b. Become Full
B. One type of full is having your physical belly full...comfortable in the fact that it has nourishment in it.
1. varied types of food are desired
a. Breakfast---typical of eggs, fruit, cereal etc. these are items generally easily digested...a way to give nourishment in bites that are easy to take.
b. Lunch foods typically are a little more hardy...or substantial; sandwiches, meat products, cheese products, something that may have more of a sustaining value.
c. Dinners typically tend to be the full course, appetizers, meats, vegetables, starches, ending with desserts often.
d. Within the realm of this structure we have many additional choices of flavors, types of dishes, different preparatory methods..i.e. grilling, broiling, baking, boiling etc. Add to this the fact that we often eat at times that are not traditional in the sense they are not one of the meal times listed above. We eat simply because we desire to do so and most, at least in the West, have the resources to make this a possibility. To put it simply we indulge ourselves with the pleasure of eating...sometimes at the expense of good health.
2. Understanding how much we put into the idea of food gives us insight as to the control it actually has over our time and resources and especially I would imagine our emotions. (my hope was to make you hungry...so you can empathize better with the meaning:)
a. If you miss breakfast due to being late, rushed, often you can be grumpy. Miss lunch the same day and you begin to physically as well as emotionally feel ill. You can not wait to get some food into your system you are serious about looking for a time when you can eat. Rarely does a person go a full day without eating due to being hurried.
b. When I was in the corporate world I would often miss breakfast and even lunch...i did it so often that it really had no visible effect on my attitude...likely I was just always crabby so you could not tell the difference. But I always made up for the missed food later in the day...eating supper, after dinner snack then on occasion a bedtime supplement as well.
3. Food is one of those things that we dont think of anxiously unless we do not have it. Taking the time to really think about how much food affects are life is important for the idea of fasting to hit home with your mind and heart.
C. We now have to look at the type of full that fasting food allows us to realize.
Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.
1. From the verse in Revelation chapter 3 verse 20 we can surmise that Christs' offer to come and dine must be of a different nature than bringing Him to McDonalds for a quick burger, or even to a 4-Star steak house for an evening of Fine Cuisine.
2. The type of food at the table offered by Christ is nothing other than the nourishment of Intimacy. This intimacy is with the Un-Created One...the God of all...Eternity itself and more than intimacy it is becoming one with the God head. (not as an equal but as a completion to who we were meant to be)
"Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3
3. The dynamics are similar to the physical food system in regards to the structure that this food is offered.
a. One is given a breakfast food if you will at the beginning of ones Christian walk...i.e. we are drawn to Christ by love...the simple easy to digest fact that humans are what God himself desires to have relation with.
b. Lunch comes quickly and we see that there is a proper response that requires attention soon after becoming a Christian. What do we do with the knowledge of His Love towards us? The response is spiritual in nature but easily overcome by the flesh...just as when we know we are loved by a human we often do not reciprocate that love back. If we do the same at this point in our walk....knowing He loves us and do not reciprocate we get stuck at McDonalds for lunch. We will not progress.
c. To progress to a dinner style of relationship with God, and this symbolizing a deeper more intimate time. As in the old days when families sat at the supper table, comfortable with each other...communing over the events of life. To get to this point we must respond to His Love. The only proper response is to Love Him back and the Bible is clear on how he knows we love Him.
"Love the Lord your God and keep his requirements, his decrees, his laws and his commands always." (Deuteronomy 11:1)
"If you love me, you will obey what I command." (John 14:15)
d. In case you are new to this concept these versus are full of grace; one of Gods command is to ask for forgiveness when you fail to keep his commandments. A simple concept yet profound: for if this was not a command then we would all be condemned.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9
II. FASTING FOR THE SUPPER
A. Fasting or the fasted lifestyle is for those ready for the meat of their spiritual walk; for things that are not easy to digest...for self-denial.
1. It is a time of participating to a very limited extent in the suffering of Christ...partnering with Him in His denial.
2. Fasting or giving up things that are normal and even good for a person is the definition of fasting.
a. Example of an African Pastor a couple years ago at a meeting I attended....he was used to his village people (christian ones) getting up at 4 am to walk a few hours to get to a place where they could chop wood...after it was chopped they sold it and walked back to their village a few hours away.
3. This gave them money or resources to BUY FOOD TO HAVE. This allowed them the NEXT day to be able to fast...for if they had fasted the day they worked for the food it would not have been a fast for they had no food to fast. His point was that in America are fridges are full...we can fast any time we want. How profound...how sad.
B. There was a time in our culture near the roots of our nation when fasting was a normal thing. Even sanctioned/mandated by the federal government. Look at the progress we have made.
Concept of fasting defined: John Piper gives flesh to the term fasting in this way. One way to better comprehend fasting is to imagine a stricken lover pining for his cherished one. The intensity of his yearning drives from his mind the thought of eating. That image--of an appetite for a loved one replacing an appetite for food--represents part of the essence of fasting.
Lovesickness for God is only part of the mindset involved in fasting. We fast not only because our appetite for God supplants our appetite for the material, but because our appetite for God is threatened by our appetite for the material.
1. The analogy is very clear and not overstated; when we decide or rather God draws us into a fasted lifestyle we are in essence saying God you are more important to me than the desires and even needs of my flesh. Within this context we understand that there is a time period one would fast, God is not looking for suicide fasters. The idea is that we would want God more than anything and are willing to back the thought up with action.
2. Within this fast we begin to coax our neglected Spirit man out of its corner of our soul into the very reason for its existence; communion with God.
III. THE SPIRIT MAN VERSUS THE OLD MAN
A. Our spirit man needs the Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God in order to not be a mal-nourished (picture National Geographic) embodiment of what is meant to be a conqueror. We neglect this fact in the church at large and taking responsibility where we need to (the church will not stand before God: You Will) we need to examine ourselves to see where we feed the flesh man at the expense of our Spirit Man. Consider these two illustrations; one from a scholar...one not...it will not be hard to tell which is from who.
1. It is one thing to have the Holy Spirit dwelling within usperhaps dwelling within us way back in some hidden sanctuary of our being, behind definite consciousnessand something far different to have the Holy Spirit take complete possession of the one whom He inhabits -------R.A. Torrey
a. This speaks to our Spirit man working in union with the Holy Spirit as one living with or in union with...as in having supper with Christ a comfortable, welcomed inhabitant...versus someone who we do not like...maybe as a rat in the house. He may live in the house but is not welcome there.
2. An image of what one could imagine the situation of the western church and those who claim the Faith as their own could be defined as such; having a dog I know this principle to be true. If you come home from work and greet your dog in a consistent pattern the dog will wait at the window...putting his paws on things he should not so he can see who might be coming up the driveway. He will be excited to see you...he simply cannot wait for a pat on the head, a happy word, a treat, any attention...most often just a how ya doing girl suffices to please her. On the flip side to this if you come home day after day and do not greet the dog when you walk in the door...the process of death occurs. Slowly over a few days or weeks she will not bother getting up from her nap area....maybe she will look and wag her tail...hoping-remembering when you had a good relationship. Soon she no longer even notices when you come home or for that matter if you come home. The relationship is dead....though she live in the house...though she eats, sleeps, is taken care of she may as well not exist.
3. My theory though not necessarily purely scriptural is that we have done the same to our Inner Man...the part of us that is in union with the Creator, The Holy Spirit who dwells within us. We have starved the spirit to a dullness to not even awake when we go to church the place where we should run into different parts of the Body working together...alive...vibrant...powerful. Instead we meet at these meetings with the other believers and we try to make our faces, our actions our words line up with what we THINK the spirit (who we know not...in intimacy) would give us power to do if He were allowed. Mostly we do this unconsciously...because we are drugged, existing in a stupor of material and fleshly bliss.
4. The catch is that we live with an underlying knowledge that we are not paying attention to what is in fact; not just fanciful thought, the most important thing there isFELLOWSHIP WITH THE GOD OF OUR CREATION. This creates the tension, the irritability the most profound evidence of the lack of Love for each other. We are good at loving others...those in the city, those in other countrys...we will pour our heart out in the prayer room (especially if someone is listening)...pleading, begging, commanding the promises of God for signs and wonders to fall, for Earth's Ills' to be removed...then we will walk out and miss the fact we are not smiling...we are not charitable to those right in front of our face. The reason is two-fold...one it is too intimate actually love a brother...it will cost something. The other is that it is not even possible in the flesh...and that is what we walk in mostly...for our spirits are not awake.
IV. THE HOPE IS THE FASTDONE IN THE SPIRIT
A. Let us revive the spirit man....let us greet him...welcome him into our hearts and lives.
1. Fasting in a nutshell deprives or weakens the flesh....thus strengthening the spirit man inside.
a. This is done practically by the fact that when you fast your body is constantly reminding you to eat...to which you reply no and think I am fasting so that I can grow in intimacy with God. This cycle repeated all the time throughout the fast pushes you to seek Gods face....it makes you knock at His door, and Knock at His door, and Knock at His door. God is faithful to those who seek; they will find.
"I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me."--- Proverbs 8:17
"For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7:7)
b. The opposite is true as well....if you do not seek the Lord (based on His calling everyone to do so and empowering them with the ability)out of rebellion out of a compromised lifestyle why do we think we will fair any better than those in the Old Testament?
They entered into a covenant to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul. All who would not seek the LORD, the God of Israel, were to be put to death, whether small or great, man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-14)
2. The fast is cumulative and progressive....God loves our heart as we first desire to fast...(really desire to be close to him)...and as we strive into the realm of fasting we start the cycle of fasting to hunger, and then hungering to fast.
V. INCOMPLETE PICTURE
A. There is a wide likely unknown amount of thought and information available that speaks to fasting. This is a tiny piece of information, it is a personal walk that you must work out in fear and trembling as you pursue God in you journey.
B. The Perils must be mentioned:
1. Do not fast in a manner that makes it religious or works minded.
2. Fasting, as your desire to gain intimacy with God will be put in front of you by God who is leading this relationship after all.
3. Fasting does not involve only one segment of your life.
a. If you fast food for a day but are controlled by food every other day...there is a problem.
b. If you fast food and live opulently in other areas of your life...putting things at the expense of your relationship as your focus...there is a problem.
c. Watch for the pride that so easily may come to some...fasting in the open , raising your chest to the fact you can go days while fasting.
d. Last there are many things to fast....there are physical issues that many people have that do not allow them to go on a strict fast of only water. Pray seek God and He will give options to what it is you may fast....the point is not the food...but the heart postured for intimacy with God.
VI. THE NEED TO FAST IS NOW
A. If you have followed the series Beholding the Beauty of Christ at the End of The Age, then you have a good handle of the times we as a church are in. (soon to be posted under individual threads)
B. If we do not become intimate with our God on earth before it ends or we end we put at risk great eternal rewards....with the biggest being intimate knowledge of Eternity: His name is God.
HE SAID TO ME: IT IS DONE. I AM THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA, THE BEGINNING AND THE END. TO HIM WHO IS THIRSTY I WILL GIVE TO DRINK WITHOUT COST FROM THE SPRING OF THE WATER OF LIFE. HE WHO OVERCOMES WILL INHERIT ALL THIS, AND I WILL BE HIS GOD AND HE WILL BE MY SON." Revelation 21:6-7
| 2006/3/27 5:03||Profile|
| Re: Fasting to Be Full.|
Thank you for your words (and God's) on Fasting and seeking God. I read through them and was blessed. You took some serious time to put all that down into words. You are probably living it and wrestling through it in your life but then to put that all into words... thanks for taking the time.
I agree with the heart of your words. Correct me if I interpreted incorrectly or strayed from the message but I believe you are saying that we have many things that consume us because we consume them (not just food). Whether it is our time, attention, thoughts, or our bodies, we give ourselves to many things other than God. Fasting is one way to return to God. I am reminded of Joel 2:12 I think it is " 'Even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, and weeping and mourning." (NIV).
Well there is much to be said about the topic of returning to God and of worshipping things (idols) other than GOD. I hope, as you said, that your post will encourage discussion and also that discussion will bring others to find the joy of being full on the bread of Life that Jesus offers. (Isaiah 55) He offers it free and yet it is without opposition. There is a battle for our time, attention, appetites, etc, because those things are door-ways into our heart. I hope and pray that Jesus guide us in all truth to persevere though the way is narrow we long to walk it with you (Jesus) hand in hand.
TS, thank you and may I pray for you,
Father bless this One (TS) with the perseverence to see your will to the end. Whatever you call TS to may you also give TS a vision to see the plan you have instore. Jesus be alive in the heart of TS. May Jesus be so overflowing in spirit from TS that streams of living water bless all who meet, greet, or hear of TS.
Thank you Jesus for the fellowship of the body, I pray the power of your name, and not for my glory or any man but all for you.
Jesus Name Amen.
TS thanks, and God bless.
I hope many reply to your good words.
| 2006/3/31 19:21||Profile|
| Re: Fasting to Be Full.|
Think we might fast to become empty of self, so we can become full of Him.
He must increase, so I must decrease.
just a thought,
| 2006/3/31 19:44||Profile|
| Re: thanks|
Mavtech....thank you for the prayer, you have no idea how it hit my heart. I wish I could say I was deep into living this fasted life...maybe compared to what i was like years ago I have made some progress. My flesh is weak yet the little fasting that God has brought me to (or I have relented to give)in areas like food, finance, time and posessions, has enabled my spirit to know that there is much to be gained in the spirit by deliberately holding back what your body "needs".
God Bless you for your kind words...and again your prayer speaks of your relationship with the Father.
| 2006/3/31 20:55||Profile|
| Re: Absolutely|
Pastorfrin...I believe you are right. You put the whole outline into one sentence.
You said "He must increase...I must decrease." The trick is the application. How do we in America decrease when it is all about increase?
| 2006/3/31 21:04||Profile|
No trick, Paul has the answer in Phil.3:7-15.
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them as dung, that I may win Christ,
And be found in Him, not having my own righteouness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith;
That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death;
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
Not as though I had already attained, either were
already perfect: but I follow after, if that I
may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
Brethen, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do, forgetting those things
which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high
calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
In Him and by Him,
To all in Christ,
| 2006/3/31 22:30||Profile|
Phoenix, Arizona USA
| Re: Fasting to Be Full.|
The Goal of this outline is to give evidence to the logic of fasting in relation to building intimacy with God. Main Scripture: “ Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Rev. 3:20
TS, Thank you for posting these ideas on fasting. It is a topic that has been of particular interest to me and I know it's difficult to find many books or sermons that deal with fasting. I'm sorry I didn't respond to this thread before, I guess it slipped off the main page before I saw it.
I like many of your thoughts here. Since you asked me privately to consider this thread I would like to share something that immediately came to mind when I read the beginning portion of your outline which I have quoted above. I wonder if we might consider the goal you have mentioned here.
First, I find it curious that the main Scripture you referenced has nothing to do, in its context, with fasting. In context the verse speaks of the backslider repenting and returning to communion with Christ. I wonder, if we are going to discuss goals in fasting it might be more beneficial to look at other Scriptures dealing specifically with the subject, Isaiah 58 and Matthew 6 come to mind among many others.
Second, I have done a little bit of study on fasting in the past and I'm not sure I find intimacy with God as a main goal. My personal experience with fasting has indeed been beneficial to intimacy with God but the primary goal of fasting that I see in the Bible is in relation to prayer warfare. It seems that intimacy with God is rather a prerequisite to effective fasting and prayer, not the goal.
As examples of this, Jehoshaphat called for fasting when enemies approached (2 Chron 20:1-3). Esther called for a 3 day fast before she approached the king about Haman (Esther 4:15,16). Daniel fasted for 3 weeks when he was seeking special understanding of his vision (Daniel 10:1-3). Jesus, Moses, and Elijah each fasted for 40 days, each one already very intimate with God. Fasting appears to be God's strategy for special supernatural power. Here is one of the greatest verses that I have found on the goal of fasting; "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?"(Isaiah 58:6)
I believe the Bible also shows us that fasting and prayer warfare, in addition to setting the oppressed free, also can be helpful towards gaining direction and discernment in spiritual battles. Fasting isn't some kind of magical formula for spiritual victory but it certainly is a powerful weapon for the prayer warrior [i]who already has an intimate relationship with God.[/i]
Also, here is a link to another thread on fasting where I posted some of my notes from my Isaiah 58 studies.
| 2006/3/31 22:51||Profile|
Hi everyone. I hope you are all doing well.
Any thoughts/experience with fasting welcome to create a dialogue.
There is so much to discuss here isn't there? This is definitely an important topic concerning our discipleship.
I can appreciate the sentiments both TS and Ron expressed and feel that I have had experiences in fasting that relate to both closeness with God and in intercession on behalf of others(specifically concerning our spiritual warfare).
My wife was recently led to an extended fast concerning a family member and God was extremely gracious in preserving thier life!
I remember one time being led to fast on behalf of a young woman who was addicted to heroin and we saw God move on her behalf as a result.
I think it was over two years ago now that I had by God's grace finished an extended fast that was a very very wonderfull experience. However, since then I have found very little grace to fast! I say this becuase one, I hope to find the grace to fast again soon! and two, to make the point that I believe God's grace is nescessary for fasting, at least the fasting that He desires for us?
Certainly people of many different faiths deny themselves food. But isn't our fast a spiritual exercise that requires faith towards God and God's grace to sustain and accomplish His purpose in it? I don't mean to suggest anyone has said otherwise.
May His grace be with you all today. May we love Him more today.
Christopher Joel Dandrow
| 2006/4/1 1:46||Profile|
Thanks Ron and ChrisJD for putting some thoughts down about fasting...I would like to spend some time chewing on what you wrote and then try to start up some added dimension to the thread...not time currently. Maybe someone else will pick up off what you wrote before I get to.
| 2006/4/1 21:48||Profile|