Recently, the pastor of our church asked the congregation to do a 21 Day Fast. I might’ve grown anxious and waited until the veryyyyyyy last minute to confirm my commitment when I heard this. I have done 24 hour food fasting a couple times and a week long social media fast before for various reasons, but I had never committed to this long of a fast. In my spirit, I knew the Lord was calling me to step away from my personal Facebook and Instagram accounts during this time of personal fasting that coordinated with corporate fasting with our church. Our church calls this “soul fasting.” I like that terminology because that’s just what I experienced.
Fasting is Biblical
Fasting is biblical and a Spiritual Discipline that is meant to draw us closer to Christ, clear away things that we rely on for sustenance (yes, even soul sustenance), break down barriers in our prayer life, and deepen our reliance upon God.
Here are some examples of fasting in the Bible:
Moses fasted for 40 days when he went up the mountain to receive the 10 commandments from God. (Exodus 34)
David fasted in repentance and prayer after his son, who was conceived in sin with Bathsheba, became sick. (2 Samuel 12)
Esther fasted before coming to the King about delivering the Jews from Haman’s fatal plans. (Esther 4)
Daniel fasted to gain clarity and understanding about a terrifying dream. (Daniel 10)
Jesus fasted in the wilderness while he was tested by Satan. (Matthew 4)
Early church leaders fasted and as a result, they gained the charge to send Paul and Barnabas out as missionaries. (Acts 13)
Reaching for Things that Will Never Satisfy Can Remind You of What Will
As you can see, there were no social media fasts in the Bible, but each fast had a purpose and a time for giving up some type of food. Today, we often confuse things like social media (among other things) with soul sustenance. We reach for things to fill us that never will. Social media in and of itself is not inherently bad. It’s a space that can be used for good and the large part of my presence and others’ on social media is to reclaim it for the Kingdom of God by utilizing the access it brings to sharing the hope of Christ immediately to anyone anywhere. But. There are times when it just gets to be too much, at least for me. I reach for it too much, when I should be reaching for Jesus more.
It’s been about a month since my fast and honestly? I am finding myself again, reaching too much for something that will never satisfy the hunger of my soul like Jesus can. So as I share these reflections with you, I’m reflecting personally, again, on what I want to reach for most: Jesus.
With that said, here are my takeaways from being off my personal Instagram and FaceBook for 21 days:
- It gave me more focus with the Lord in my prayer time especially.
- It made me aware of how much I reach for things that will never fill me like Jesus can.
- It made me aware that no matter what you lay aside, something else will still beg for your reach. Reaching for Jesus is so much better and is the only thing that satisfies.
- It’s a process of discipline and a call to let Him overcome your natural desires by His supernatural power.
- It gave me more analog time to have the deeper kind of conversations that are so fulfilling.
- It helped me be more present with my people.
- It made me curious for what information and updates I was missing.
- It made me feel relieved that I didn’t have to experience digital roller coaster emotions.
- It made me more aware of how I can use social media for good but not let it use me. I got to be the boss of social media, not the other way around.
- It brought about unexpected side blessings like people I don’t get to talk with on the regular reaching out to me and being stirred to pray for me.
Fasting isn’t a thing to just check off. It’s something to prayerfully consider and approach. But, goodness, it sure can break down some walls between you and God and reset your focus.
Maybe it’s time for a fast in your life, and you want to have a concentrated focus on asking Jesus to fill you like nothing else can. Your fast doesn’t have to be social media, but it could be.
Whatever you decide, know that it will be hard, but it will be worth it because nothing can fill us like Jesus can.
Have you experienced a closer walk with Jesus after fasting? Share about that in the comments below.