As christians we are often called to press in, lean in and to fully surrender. But what happens when we find ourselves complaisant and honestly unaware of our complaisant-ness? What can we possibly do when reading our bibles, quiet time, bible study and serving isn’t enough?
As a new Christian I never gave it much thought until the momentum and excitement of following God subsided and I realized through my praying that I wasn’t doing enough to cultivate my relationship with Jesus. And just when I thought Christ couldn’t teach me a hard hitting lesson my home Church introduced the “Daniel Fast.”
The Daniel Fast is taken straight from the Bible in Daniel 1:8 where Daniel refuses to eat the King’s delicacies because they were sacrificed to false idols. Daniel “asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way”-Daniel 1:8. The chief official was scared of the King but ultimately had pitty.
But this pitty didn’t stop him from asking, “Why should he (the King) see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you”-Daniel 1:10. So Daniel resolved in asking the guard to test not only him but also Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He asked to be tested for 10 days and then to compare them (Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah) to the other men who ate from the King’s table; which were really designated leftovers, talk about stingy.
At the end of the 10 days, the four men looked stikingly healthy, strong and pleasing to the eye (this last part is my assumption). So the guard then decides to take away the choice food and wine given to the other men; whom werent participating in the fast, and gave them vegetables and nothing else.
Because of their steadfastness to refuse the King’s choice foods they not only remained loyal to our God but God revealed Himself in ways unimaginable. He gave them “knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning”-Daniel 1:17. And Daniel the ability to understand visions and dreams that surpassed human understanding.
When the time set by the King was over he asked the chief official to bring the men into his service but none compared to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah and asked them to enter the King’s service officially.
Because of their love for God whom loved them first, God showed them favor. The King himself found them to be far more valuable and knowledgable that any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire Kingdom further acknowledging God’s power, love and favor to Daniel and nonbelievers such as the King.
Although, I found myself weak and wanting to cut my 21 day fast down I remained on it…for 7 days. I felt crushed for to not being strong enough to complete the 21 days due to unforeseen circumstances. I felt like a failure in the eyes of other christians around me and ultimately to our God. I felt unworthy, unloved, upset, weak and flat out crushed. Despite my worldly feelings, I was reminded that, “it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God. — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” -Ephesians 2:8-10 You, like I, were crafted by a great God and despite our shortcomings He solely and purposefully loves us. Not by works.
Yeah, I wasn’t able to finish the 21 days I had set out to accomplish, but I wholeheartedly tried. God worked in me. I cried, was moody and I was revealed things I wanted to ignore and put on the back burner. God revealed Himself and heard my prayers (that I didn’t even know I was praying) when I was flat out running from His love, grace and mercy.
You see the purpose of a fast isn’t just getting to the end mark with friends and family cheering you on (even though that’s pretty awesome). It’s to grow closer to God, to press in, to rely on Jesus. To Go where He wants you to Go, Do what He wants you to Do, Say what He wants you to Say and Give what He wants you to Give.
I may have not gotten to the end mark of 21 days but God loves me for my simple attempt and He to will love you for your simple attempts to follow Him. As sinners we are not perfect yet He has unconditional love for YOU and for me. With that being said, fasts are hard, they ask a lot of you and reveal pretty scary and intense things. But if you’re willing and prepare yourself through prayer and proper planning (snacks on the go are a must) I have full faith that anyone could submit themselves into the Daniel fast, or any fast for that matter.
God loved me through it and He’ll love you through any valley you may face too.