Sunday, September 24, 2017

I Am Joe’s Fast

July 20, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles

I am Joe’s fast.

Some physical or spiritual desire, or both, has driven Joe to me. He’ll starve himself by not eating at all, or by just drinking water, or by only eating certain breads or vegetables. Maybe he’ll confess and repent along the way while his stomach aches and his body discharges toxins and searches for new energy sources, or maybe he’ll just feel better after feeling bad for a few days.  Traveling my road is not an easy adventure, but it could be a valuable one, if Joe avoids distractions and sticks to it. If he does finish the race he may just be a better person with many a tale to tell at the dinner table.

Of course Joe studied fasting and consulted his doctor before starting his physical and spiritual journey.  The consultations and wisdom gathered before the fast will do him much good, I think.

The act of fasting is an ageless exercise observed and encouraged by most religions and health cults, but not always embraced as “healthy” by modern man.

Ben Franklin was for it.  “”Eat few suppers and you’ll need few medicines,” he wrote in Poor Richard’s Almanac.

Other more “modern” writers didn’t see the sense in it, or preceded their “Biblical” endorsements with warnings.

“After a sound drubbing followed by half a day’s fasting I felt more like laughing than like crying, and, in half a while, all was forgotten and my wickedness began fresh and worse than ever,” Flemish Writer Stijn Streuvels, (1871-1969)

“Moreover, there is psychological evidence that fasting lends itself to “self-induced” visions which sometimes prove harmful. On the other hand, there is biblical evidence that fasting and prayer practiced together can be a useful part of individual and congregational life, though the practice should never be allowed to degenerate into an empty formal observance or a device for attempting to manipulate God.” R D Linder  (Elwell Evangelical Dictionary)

So Joe has begun his fast, and his body is first going after stored carbohydrates to keep his energy up. When that storehouse is low Joe’s body will begin extracting protein wherever it can find it, and Joe will be technically “starving.” His body will grumble and ache, and it will seem that everyone in his world is offering him donuts. This is where he will stumble onto his first “discipline” lesson and have to reach down to overcome his weak flesh with the willingness of his spirit.

“Drinking makes us wise, but dry fasting makes us glum,” said theologian and abolitionist William Alger, (1822-1905).

It won’t be long before his body starts demanding energy from his liver which will release fatty acids and take Joe into “Ketosis.” Detoxification begins and toxins start being released from Joe’s colon, liver, lungs, and lymph glands. Environmental chemicals, like DDT, may also be let go and eliminated as his body begins to discard that which it does not need. Joe may be glum indeed during this first part of his adventure.

On the positive side anti-aging hormones are being released, and energy is being diverted from his digestive system to his metabolism and immune systems. Abnormal growths and tumors may disappear as Joe’s body becomes more efficient. Growth hormones may also be released, core body temperatures may drop, and blood sugar levels may fall as well.

Joe may feel rejuvenated as everything within him begins to work together and more efficiently.

“Fasting cures,” said Phillippus Paracelsus, 15th century Renaissance physician. “This marvelous self improvement technique…works to heal what ails us!”

But that’s just the physical application. I’m glad he has chosen to pray while fasting.

Spiritually hunger and denial is reminding Joe of his need for God, and this may be driving him to greater fellowship with the Divine. In the midst of this fellowship, Joe may find greater commitment to his faith and a fresh atonement for his sins. Despite physical discomfort and with his attention set on the supernatural Joe may also experience great feelings of power and control as he reaches for answers waiting for him in a greater realm.

I am waiting to hear this statement come through The Spirit inside Joe, “..but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.” (Romans 8:23).

Then the fast will have been a success. Joe will get his answers, his cure*, and his redemption **. The outside forces which have bogged him down in a restless, unhappy, and doubtful time will be scattered and Joe’s body and spiritual self will fall in to balance.

“But as for me,” says Psalm 35:13, “when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.”

I am Joe’s fast, and Joe will tell others of our success or failure.

Editor’s Note:

* The “cure” referenced may or may not be referencing a physical cure. God does indeed heal and sometimes He chooses to heal through a fast, however fasting is not a formula to force God’s hand in any direction.  Fasting often times leads to answers, peace, breakthroughs,  and direction … thus, “the cure”.

** The redemption referenced is not referring to salvation, as fasting is not a necessary step to salvation.

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