Ever wanted to find a way to bless others—while also growing closer to God yourself?
As we continue our series on ordinary people, extraordinary habits, here’s one that came my way, er, somewhat uninvited: fasting.
My sister handed me an article from the Journal of the American Medical Association right as I walked into her kitchen as I was giving her food gifts. The article’s conclusion? Primary care doctors may soon prescribe intermittent fasting.
“Hey, wait, I brought my sister treats! And she hands me a medical article about when to eat—or not?”
But as I learned more about fasting from the Bible, I’m glad she did. The Bible shows that fasting blesses not only us. It improves our witness, helping others find sustenance from God.
So, I’ve been asking God to help me swap breakfasting time for blessing time.
In a place where Daniel could have eaten like a king, he chose to eat for the LORD of Lords. When pressured to please people by pulling up at the table, he pointed Nebuchadnezzar to God by pushing back. (Daniel 1:8-21).
Daniel didn’t necessarily know the good that would come from his decision. And he did it at great risk to himself, his friends, and the eunuch who helped them. They all could have been killed. What Daniel did know was that his God was mighty, even in this exiled, idolatrous land.
And shine, it did. Not just before Nebuchadnezzar, but all the court officials, the entire group of eunuchs, all the other youths, and likely many exiled Jews. People were uplifted hearing that even Nebuchadnezzar was now honoring God.
Daniel’s example pointed one of the world’s most powerful rulers to the all-powerful God. “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.” (Daniel 4:37)
It wasn’t the vegetables. It was God. God used Daniel’s fast to show Nebuchadnezzar what He alone could provide: “He found Daniel and his friends ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.”
Daniel illustrates a point that flows through all of Scripture: People who point others to God sometimes have to pull back from people’s expectations.
A.W. Tozer said, “If we would indeed know God in growing intimacy, we must go this way of renunciation. And if we are set upon the pursuit of God, He will sooner or later bring us to this test.”
- Fasting gives us time to pray when we’d usually be frying eggs.
- Fasting offers alone time with God when we’d be groggily brushing past others on our way to the toaster.
- When we choose to fast, we make sacred room for God to shine.
Ask Him today what space He wants to shine through in your everyday. Maybe it’s fasting from a particular meal or an activity. (Please always check with your doctor first if you decide to fast from food.) Then, like Daniel, resolve to empty it for Him.
Extraordinary Habit Focus: Fasting
We live in a land of prosperity and abundance. We can get produce out of season. We can click on specialty foods to have them delivered the same day. It’s easy to find any new delicacy our hearts desire.
Now, I’m the granddaughter of a gourmet chef, so thinking about my next menu comes more naturally than planning my next Christ-focused meditation.
But that’s perhaps the gift of fasting—I taste God’s goodness. I gain God’s provisions. So I can offer him from places of spiritual fullness, even as my tummy growls “empty.”
So, what’s a recipe that supports fasting? How about 23 fruit-infused water recipes? If you make one—post a picture on our Instagram or Facebook and let us know how you see God filling you to show how good He is to others!