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 Fasting (should this go here?)

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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Fasting (should this go here?)   Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:45 pm

So what is everyone's thoughts on fasting? I've read quite a bit about it and I feel like God is leading me to pursue a fast that seems... impossible.

I know it's scriptural (Jesus even said "When you fast..."). But I think we can fast things other than food.

For instance, a few years ago I fasted fiction books for a month (in case you don't realize, this is a huge deal. I read between 4 and 6 fiction books a month.). I've fasted music and only had silence during the times I would have had music.

But this fast I feel God is leading me to... I just don't know. It's scary, to be honest.
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alldatndensum
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PostSubject: Re: Fasting (should this go here?)   Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:56 pm

Fasting is a great way to clear the mind and focus on God. 

What do you think he is asking you to do?

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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Fasting (should this go here?)   Tue Dec 06, 2016 3:09 pm

I think he's leading me to fast fiction books again. I have several on my To Be Read pile and I'm feeling like he wants me to ignore them and read only the Bible and theology books.

But the kicker is this. Last time I did this, it was for a month. This time I feel like he's telling me to do it for a year... That's a long time for someone who averages 4 to 6 novels a month...

I also think he wants me to go plant based in terms of my diet again. For at least a year (gulp), no junk, no meat, cheese, fish, dairy... no animal based products at all. This one will be hard but I need to lose about 200 pounds so it'll be a good thing I think.
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kerrick

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PostSubject: Re: Fasting (should this go here?)   Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:02 pm

If you feel God is calling you to abstain from something, I think it's definitely something you should prayerfully pursue.  Biblically speaking, I'm not sure there's any mention of fasting anything besides food.  I'm not sure if distinguishing between biblical fasting and abstaining from XYZ is relevant - or if we even should make that distinction - but it'd probably be good to do a little research on first, since the spiritual discipline of fasting is pretty specific in its purpose/intent, whereas abstaining from something may have other motivations.  Upon doing a quick internet search, this article came up and it looks pretty thorough but I don't know anything about the website/ministry.  I *think* the concept of fasting from things other than food is a more recent thing and while not necessarily bad... I'm not so sure it's biblical in the sense of being considered as "fasting" (since we're obviously called to abstain from numerous things).

All that to say, I recommend doing some research of fasting vs abstaining and the reasoning behind both - if different.  Both reading and weight loss are big deals and will affect you and all those close to you quite a bit.  Please let us know how we can be praying for you and helping you!
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Staybrite

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PostSubject: Re: Fasting (should this go here?)   Tue Dec 06, 2016 4:13 pm

I have to confess that I haven't done a lot of fasting myself, but when it seems something I do (music, recreational reading, television, etc.) gets in the way of my walk with God I can certainly feel led to give it up for a time.  I would definitely say give it some prayer and reflection, but if still feels like God is asking you to walk away from fiction for a year I say go for it, it's not as if you feel led to leave your family (or job) for a year.

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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Fasting (should this go here?)   Tue Dec 06, 2016 5:30 pm

kerrick wrote:
If you feel God is calling you to abstain from something, I think it's definitely something you should prayerfully pursue.  Biblically speaking, I'm not sure there's any mention of fasting anything besides food.  I'm not sure if distinguishing between biblical fasting and abstaining from XYZ is relevant - or if we even should make that distinction - but it'd probably be good to do a little research on first, since the spiritual discipline of fasting is pretty specific in its purpose/intent, whereas abstaining from something may have other motivations.  Upon doing a quick internet search, this article came up and it looks pretty thorough but I don't know anything about the website/ministry.  I *think* the concept of fasting from things other than food is a more recent thing and while not necessarily bad... I'm not so sure it's biblical in the sense of being considered as "fasting" (since we're obviously called to abstain from numerous things).

All that to say, I recommend doing some research of fasting vs abstaining and the reasoning behind both - if different.  Both reading and weight loss are big deals and will affect you and all those close to you quite a bit.  Please let us know how we can be praying for you and helping you!


Great points. I've always understood fasting to be a time away from something you enjoy on a regular basis.

That being said, I would think abstaining from fiction writing to study the Bible more and read theology instead would only be beneficial. And frankly, I have a food addiction and struggle with it so that side of it would be beneficial as well - focusing on Jesus on my lunch break instead of cheese fries or tacos.

As far as praying, just that I would have clarity and if this is what I should do, that I have the strength to do it!
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rockerVu2

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PostSubject: Re: Fasting (should this go here?)   Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:13 am

When God shows you to fast, you have to do it.
Fasting is a strong weapon.

When I fast, I only drink that day.
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messiaen77

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PostSubject: Re: Fasting (should this go here?)   Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:51 pm

I think fasting is one of those things that is easily misunderstood.  Like Kerrick was saying, I'm not sure if there is a difference between fasting and abstaining, and I'm not sure it matters what label we give it.  I think the spiritual discipline of fasting exists to deepen our reliance upon God and sharpen our focus.  I think a call to give something up is often a way to remove something from our lives that has taken on too much importance or is in some way harmful to us and has the effect of deepening our reliance on God to overcome.  Sometimes it is for a time, sometimes it is for good.  All I can say is if you feel like God is leading you to do something, you are far better off doing it than not.
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topshot rhit



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PostSubject: Re: Fasting (should this go here?)   Wed Dec 07, 2016 10:13 pm

ishmael81 wrote:
Great points. I've always understood fasting to be a time away from something you enjoy on a regular basis.

Maybe if that something you enjoy is interfering with your relationship with God. Do you read your Bible as much as fiction? That's one reason I rarely read fiction anymore.

All this boils down to what is God telling you to do. Being obedient is the most important thing here.

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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Fasting (should this go here?)   Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:05 am

Thanks messiahen77 and topshot, you guys (inadvertently) called out my sin. I do read more fiction than I read the Bible. And honestly, I'm going back to school in August so it's not like i'll have a ton of time to read fiction for three or four years anyway...

I talked with my wife (which I just mentioned in the Minimalism thread) about next year being a year where I really change. I'm abstaining from fiction, not eating junk food and animal products, trying to stop needless spending and trying to not watch as much television...
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topshot rhit



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PostSubject: Re: Fasting (should this go here?)   Thu Dec 08, 2016 6:54 pm

ishmael81 wrote:
I talked with my wife (which I just mentioned in the Minimalism thread) about next year being a year where I really change. I'm abstaining from fiction, not eating junk food and animal products, trying to stop needless spending and trying to not watch as much television...

That would certainly be some major change for you and your later self will thank you for it as long as you have peace about it. Not saying it will be "fun" per se, certainly not likely at the start at least, but if you rely on God you'll power through those tough temptation times.

We gave up TV something like 16 years ago though I admit to watching more football/baseball online in the past couple years, mostly just the big games like playoffs.

BTW, MMM has a very active forum. Though it's not Christian, of course, you can find a lot of encouragement for that part of your change.

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