Below are 4 spiritual benefits of fasting that I have personally experienced so far.
1. Takes the focus off of Me
These past few days, I am noticing that fasting is pushing me into a stronger consideration for others.
Connecting to the Poor
For instance, I’ve been thinking about, and empathizing with people all over the world whom have had nothing to eat for longer than I’ve been on this fast. I’ve been blessed to have food available to me since I came out of my mother’s womb.
With that being said, this fast is pushing me into a profound gratitude. I appreciate, on a deeper level, what I do have. I realized that I am rich! I have nothing to complain about. I still have access to water, coffee, and tea during this fast. I am freely choosing to refrain from eating food, while thousands of men, women, and children have no choice.
I have a roof over my head, while hundreds of people are living in the slums. Some live within the confines of card board boxes. Others live within the confines of tents, while still others have no “confines” to shelter them at all. That breaks my heart.
3. It Makes Reflection Time Easier
An empty stomach has been pushing me to turn to prayer and meditation to fill the void that food would have filled. Jesus said that man:
“… does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).Matt. 4:4
I have fasted before, but not like this. Now that my stomach has been without food for almost 2 weeks, this passage is really coming to life for me. Also, because my body is no longer using energy to burn and store incoming food, I now have more energy. Therefore, I can spend more time in meditation without dozing off!
4. It Strengthens and Clarifies My Convictions
The longer I fast, the stronger I am becoming in my convictions about helping people physically and spiritually. It’s impossible to disconnect the two. If we were purely spiritual beings, we’d be angels. If we were mere physical bodies, we’d be animals…but we’re not. We’re human beings; both body and spirit. That’s amazing!
My Desire to Help People in Both Ways
The desire to help people in both ways has been on my heart ever since I can remember. My dad has been working at our church since my siblings and I were toddlers. When he and my mom would lead bible studies, retreats, or organize different church events, the majority of the time, we were right there with them.
Helping People Spiritually
Naturally, people would become comfortable with my family and me, and would begin to share their life stories with us. A lot of the people I remember meeting throughout the years were successful in their careers, and in life. They were engineers, principals, business owners, etc.
They looked great on the outside. They were the type of people who kept healthy and primped, but when they would unmask themselves and open up to us about their lives at home, the dry cleaned and pressed suits with Italian leather shoes, quickly became a bunch of tattered and torn rags, accessorized with shackles.
What I’ve learned is that we’re all “walking wounded” even if we look great externally. It was through these experiences where my desire to share about the peace and solutions that God has to offer to us on this side of Heaven, came about.
Helping People Physically
My desire to help people physically, with diet and exercise, has been nagging at my heart since middle school. Several people in my family suffer from complications related to diabetes and high blood pressure. I knew at a very young age that I did not want that for myself, or for anyone else!
In middle school I started reading different articles and blogs, and watching videos that focus on the impact that different types of exercises and diets have on the human body. I was intrigued, and would often share the information I had learned with people in my family to the point of annoyance, but as we all know, old habits die hard.
I knew I needed to get healthy and fit to become “qualified” to help people physically as well as spiritually, but it was very difficult to break the patterns that had been nurtured in me my whole life.
I’m tried of being disqualified my friends. As St. Paul said:
I drive my body and train it, for fear that, after having preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.1 Cor. 9:25-27
Nonetheless, I have no doubt that there are more spiritual benefits to fasting, but so far these are the ones that stand out for me.