Top 5 Tips on
Fasting Instead of Dieting!
by Michelle M. Pearson
Many people mistakenly and routinely refer to diets and dieting as “fasting”. In doing so, they may feel more spiritual about their diet, but in the end, they repeatedly fail in their attempt to maintain both health and weight afterward this time of “fasting” is over.
Let’s look at the difference between dieting and fasting so that perhaps this year, many of you will get wisdom and understanding as to why your sincere attempts at health or physical improvement have failed thus far. Yes, you may have been sincere, but without applying Biblical fasting truths, you will simply end up sincerely wrong.
In the Bible, the book of Daniel records that Daniel, imprisoned, asked the jailer to allow him to have only vegetables and water for ten days to prove out that he would be stronger than all the others.
How many of you ask to be tested when you are under stress? Do you typically leave off comfort foods, “dainties” and other pleasures when you are under pressure? No, most reach for comfort food or drink, not abstain from it!
No matter his current circumstances and injustices, Daniel determined not to make excuses. At all costs, he determined not to be “defiled” by going against that which the Lord had instructed him as to the care of his body. The Bible tells us that he requested of his jailer,
“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. (Daniel 1:13-14)
Here is the result: At the end of the ten days he looked healthier and better nourished than any other! The refusal to make excuses and the commitment to his relationship with God provided unmatched results in just ten days!
What was at work here that perhaps you haven’t experienced? It wasn’t just a diet that made these boys “the picture of health”.
Dieting is reducing or abstaining from food(s) to affect just the physical body. You think about, measure, count, coordinate, and salivate over food and drink choices all day long. It produces bondage. It is a law-based approach – and the law produces death.
It was the application of the Biblical principle of FASTING.
And, that’s our High Five for Health today: Biblical Fasting
#1 Abstain from selected items for a specific purpose – but do so unto God.
First, Daniel determined in his heart that he would bring the body into submission and to keep the spirit and soul undefiled from the customs of the new world around them. He wasn’t merely eating differently. His heart was in it so his desires changed, not just his temporary choices.
By his actions and submission to God and the results thereof, Daniel was proclaiming to his captors, “My God, the Almighty God, is different than your gods. I reverence Him for He is Holy. My choices are different from the pagan world around me because of who He is and how I revere Him.”
If you read further in Daniel, one will see this bears out in the continued hand of God upon Daniel and his companions. I believe Daniel’s decision to fast was a huge contributor to the spiritual strength we later see in all of these young men.
So, how does one method of abstinence (dieting) produce sickness and death and another method (fasting unto the Lord) produce strength and health?
In the natural, dieting subtracts from one’s health. Typically, people force the body into starvation to reduce weight. Perhaps they abstain from fats in an attempt to influence a change in cholesterol levels. Either way, the abstinence in dieting is about food, not God. Another way to say that would be that abstinence from food by dieting is separate from your relationship with God. That which is separate from God is what?
#2 Fasting changes the mind and the body by the change of character and purpose. This is the ultimate goal of fasting.
Diets result in the body’s scavenging muscle and bone for survival rather than burning excess fat and eliminating toxic waste. In sharp contrast, the entry for “fasting” in Vine’s Expository Dictionary states,
“Christ taught the need of purity and simplicity of motive. The answers of Christ to the questions of the disciples of John and of the Pharisees reveal His whole purpose and method. What He taught was suitable to the change of character and purpose which He designed for His disciples.” (Emphasis added.)
#3 Fasting is not so much about denying yourself as it is about not defiling yourself. Your heart must direct your motives, not your waistline.
The Lord knows the intent of your heart. Your true motive is not disguised from His eyes. If you are dieting and calling it a fast, He knows. There is nothing any less healthy than a lie. And internal lies, the ones we tell ourselves, lead to internal disease.
If you are truly being led by the Lord to fast from something for the strengthening of your spirit and your body, then your time will be consecrated unto the Lord and the destroyer will have no opportunity to harm you.
#4 Enter into fasting at God’s prompting, increasing your communication and consecration to God. Replace whatever is laid aside for the time of the fast with time spent in the Lord.
Allow yourself time to draw nearer to God and focus on His desires for your life and your body. If you keep these things in mind and be Spirit-led, you, like Daniel, will come out stronger, not weaker, a true testimony to the Lord!
Here are some types and times of Biblical Fasting: (not all inclusive)
Vegetables and Fruit with water
Bread and yeast products
Water Only – Note: This type of fast is very rare in the Bible; we find no examples of this being something the general population did for extended lengths of days. Except for Jesus and a few others, generally, this is a one-day fast from sun-down to sun-down.
Biblical Lengths or times: 21 Days for Revelation, 40 Days – in preparation for the next dimension in your ministry purpose, 1 Day per week – the fasted life, 7 Days – from bread and leaven, 10 Days – Daniel’s first fasting period, up to 3 to 3 1/2 years – while Daniel was in captivity, to honor God.
Important Note: Popular “juice fasting” with fruit juices is not a biblical fast. It produces an addiction to sugar. “Liquids only” is also not necessarily a Biblical fast. It is a liquid diet to produce drastic weight loss in a short period of time – it does not produce a change in character and consecration to purpose. (The exception would be fasting on vegetable juice and water, in keeping with the description of Daniels fast, and therefore, appropriately healthy for the body.)
And finally, number five in our Top Five Tips on Fasting for Complete Health:
# 5 An attitude fast – to break yokes and bondages, wrong hearts & wrong mindsets
This is the kind of fasting I have chosen:
Loosen the chains of wickedness,
untie the straps of the yoke,
let the oppressed go free,
and break every yoke.
Isaiah 58:6 (GW)
Fasting has definite physical benefits, including loss of excess weight, toxins, and impurities. It can heal the gut and the heart. It has definite power to renew the mind, will, and emotions to healthy patterns.
But most powerful of all, and the precursor to every other benefit, true biblical fasting sharpens our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit so that we are clear to hear God’s voice. As you truly fast unto Him, all these other things, including health, are added unto you!
Fasting does not move God. It moves you… to God.
And there is no place of greater health than that!
(For more teaching on this topic, please go to our Products and Resources Page and get the download, “Fasting and Feasting” which is approximately one hour of class time on the subject.)
Know someone who is struggling with some health problems?
Of course you do! Please share this with them.
Believe. Choose. Activate. Achieve. (Repeat.)