Are you considering starting a fast? Ask yourself this: Should fasting result in an immediate, unchanged return to the way things were before the fast began? I’ll skip to the punch line and tell you… The answer to that should be no. The primary result of fasting should be inner change that produces outer results.
Now, having that settled, let’s work our way back from the end to the beginning. Ask yourself, “What is my purpose and motivation for fasting?”
Because complete health is beyond the physical appearance, let’s look at the fasting issue from all angles: Spirit, Soul, and Body.
If you believe you are fasting for spiritual reasons, it is important to know that fasting moves us closer to God, it does not move Him closer to us. (Faith and compassion move God). Fasting helps us discern which choices in life are pleasing to God and life giving (being of faith) and which are corrupted and dis-ease causing (being of flesh).
Given that, then the evidence of “successful fasting” is not weight loss. The evidence is BURDEN loss. The real evidence is the permanently changed life. The evidence is broken addictions. The evidence is changed attitudes. The evidence is a changed life that comes from a changed heart, NOT the absence of food.
However, because fasting contains a physical action that connects to the spiritual decision, it is valid to examine what foods are appropriate to fast… we see in Scripture that Daniel fasted on herbs and vegetables and at times he fasted from pleasant breads, the King’s dainties or pleasant/choice foods, and meats. Other Bible persons fasted the entire meal or one whole day, from sundown to sundown all meals, and, yes, a very few even water fasted as seen on much rarer, but definite occasions.
What about grains and breads? In or out? Fasting from leavened grain products is Scriptural. Doing so once a year is also scriptural. While we are speaking of bread and grains, one only has to look at the design of the body and the other instructions in the Word of God to see that it is of great benefit to fast from grains completely during a “half-fast” as Strong’s Concordance calls it.
Many so-called ‘Daniel fast’ resources include grains liberally in their guidelines, simply avoiding all “processed” or “pleasant” grains. We call that straining out the gnat and swallowing the camel. Legalistically, you might say that then means that you could have grains, just unprocessed, yeast-free products like granola or whole oats, rice, or quinoa.
Or, the other camp, legalistically also, would say you leave out all grains like Daniel did on the 10 day fast. Both are legalistic and will get you off the path and into the ditch. (Still yet another group might argue that you just need to keep the ‘spirit of the thing’, not duplicate the specifics. And that is a slippery slope for another day’s blog!)
One thing that we do not find in the scripture is the ever-so-popular… fruit juice fast. Why? God knows, but my opinion, for whatever that might be worth to anyone, from years in the Spirit and in healthcare, having done fasts both correctly and incorrectly, is just possibly because… fruit juice is pure sugar and it doesn’t really take much grace (empowerment) to agree to drink it by the truckload. It takes very little discipline to do a fruit juice fast and it is horrible for your physical body.
Now, fasting on juices, including vegetables, bone broths, a measure of fruit, herbal teas, and water – now that is both healthy and Biblical. (Because, of course, if it is not first Biblical, it can not be healthy. Selah.)
And, while I think of it, also contrary to popular thought, Daniel was not a vegetarian. The scripture tells us that he purposed to fast from meat; that would indicate that meat was his normal custom and he was abstaining from it for the fast. Best I can tell from scripture, it doesn’t say he began to eat meat again after the initial 10 day fast, but let’s say he did not,for argument sake. We do know that about 3 to 3.5 years pass between the two fasting examples of Chapter 1 and 10. At some point he must have begun eating meats and sweets again in some measure because he fasts from them again for another 21 days for revelation.
On the natural side, regarding eating vegan or vegetarian, yes, we see both spiritual and physical benefit to fasting on vegetables. But, as to long term vegetarian eating, even though an initial health boost can happen when one first eats a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, medical science has discovered that the body’s design can go only about 3-3.5 years before the vegetarian lifestyle begins to deplete the essential fatty acids. By year seven, great depletion in fats, hormones, and structural balance has begun to be evidenced. Mood swings, personality changes, hair loss, hormonal problems, and high inflammatory responses are common after this time in vegetarian lifestyles.
So when you Google it (like we know most do), what are you to do with all this conflicting advice all over the place? Remember. These are the criteria for judging your “leadings”: Where’s the scripture? And the additional scripture as a witness? Is it love? Is it freedom? It is truth? Does it work with God’s pattern or design, in this case, the body’s design and the mind of Christ?
Or does it ultimately result in addictions to sugar and irritability and disease later??
The real answer is you need to be led. And the Spirit of God will not lead you contrary to the Word of God.
It does very little good at all to try to enter a time of prayer and fasting already negotiating your way out of submission.
Ask the right questions.
What liberty did God give you when He moved you to fast? What specifics did He give you, personally? Did He lead you specifically to Chapter 1, for 10 days for the same reasons as Daniel, for consecration? Or did He move you to fast, and you have the whole of the Bible text as general instructions? Did He minster to your heart 21 days, like Daniel Chapter 10, for revelation? Perhaps it was 40 days, like Jesus or Moses, preparing for your life’s purpose and ministry assignment(s) ahead? Or like the Apostle Paul, for a meal or a day or a time of prayer, for big decisions, such as the selection of elders or missionary servants in the Body?
See, these things are what are important. Being led, however, is not license to use your liberty to sin.
Fasting clears the clutter of SELF so that you can hear His voice and learn more about His heart; it positions you to receive the grace needed to walk out into obedience. Fasting doesn’t come from obedience to produce freedom. As the Body of Christ, our fasting is a product of our heart being made free that results in willing obedience.
Fasting is a tool to train your spirit, implementing the Word of His power, to discipline your flesh, to break the yoke of enslavement by spending time face to face with The Truth that makes us free.
We will be back in a few days with another article. I am going to remind you once again, because we never get it the first time we hear a new Truth… complete health flourishes in freedom not bondage. All things are permissible. Not all things are beneficial.
Michelle Pearson is a dynamic wellness coach, speaker, author, and the Founder & President of Picture of Health Inc. On a personal health journey for the past 19 years, Michelle’s mission is to educate, activate, challenge and equip others to live a full, satisfying life through the use of state-of-the-art educational resources to produce significant and lasting health breakthroughs.
Dr. Ray Pearson is a licensed Chiropractic Physician and a Pharmacist, with over 43 years in healthcare. Dr. Ray has post-graduate training and certification in numerous advanced wellness therapies and Chiropractic techniques. In addition, he holds a degree in Biology and graduated with honors from Victory Bible Institute & World Missions Training Center.
Dr. Pearson and wife, Michelle, are Catalysts for Change. Together, they have more than 1000 hours of continuing education in advanced nutrition and wellness topics. Both are dynamic wellness coaches, speakers, authors and founders of http://thepictureofhealth.com. Together, their mission is to educate, activate, challenge and equip others to live a full, satisfying life through the use of state-of-the-art educational resources to produce significant and lasting health breakthroughs.