We’re entering the first week of the annual West Angeles January Consecration! If you’ve never fasted, or you need a little inspiration to get you started, here are 7 tips to help make your fast a successful one.
Millions of Christians throughout the world begin the New Year with a period of consecration, extended prayer and fasting. When we fast and consecrate ourselves, we do so to bring ourselves closer to God; to cleanse our bodies, to develop discipline, and to prepare ourselves for God’s use for His purpose.
Fasting leads us to the diet and physical conditions God wanted for us when He created Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:29), helps us to manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24), and develops within us optimum spiritual, mental, and physical functionality (Daniel 1:18-20). But do you have a tough time starting a fast, or maintaining the eating principles required? Do you want to fast, but you don’t know where to start?
Here are 7 tips to help make your time of fasting and consecration a success:
- Think…It’s for God – and we don’t want to let Him down (Matthew 6:33). Fasting gives us clearer reception to hear God’s voice and enables Him work in our lives. Fast to create a deeper relationship with God in your relationships, your home, your marriage, your church, and your life.
- Do remember…It’s good for you. – Fasting cleanses our bodies from the inside out, and helps us to develop temperance, discipline, and moderation (Daniel 1:8); as a result, it provides us with a healthier lifestyle, better memory, and a better body condition for the healing of both physical and mental afflictions. During your fast, turn off media; clean, de-clutter and organize your home, increase prayer and meditation time. Limit foods, beverages, and anything else which enters the body – including intercourse for a mutually agreed-upon time (1 Corinthians 7:5).
- Do your homework. When we fast, we limit the quantity of foods we eat. Fasting returns us to a moderate, earth-based foods diet which consists mainly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and spices; and we eliminate artificial and processed foods and drinks; dairy, alcohol, fast foods, sugar, and salt. There are many advances in vegetarian and vegan food preparation these days, so fasting doesn’t restrict you to only celery, carrot sticks and water!
- Be creative! Start by making a list of the healthy foods you like, and begin your fast by limiting your fasting “menu” to those items. Use those foods as the foundation to create your own new recipes, or to alter existing recipes into a healthier version. The use of spices is okay.
- Have only healthy snacks around the house and at work. Get rid of the chips, sodas, dairy, candy, sweeteners and other sugary items. Replace them with snacks like nuts, sliced fruits, unsweetened apple sauce, figs, dates.
- Juice! Juicing is a great element to add to our diets at any time of the year. A day of juicing can be a healthy, nutrient-filled addition to your year-round eating routine, and a good way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Remember that pureed vegetables are “juices” too! Include pureed vegetable soups on days where a fast calls for liquids only, as a warm “green meal”, or an alternative to a salad.
- Drink lots of water. Our bodies are made up of mostly water. When we drink lots of water, it flushes out impurities and helps re-balance us. It also helps fill us, and keeps the cravings at bay. Try starting each day of your fast by consuming more water than you usually do; work up to consuming 1 half-gallon of water by noon.
A final important tip to remember: You will eat again. Often, we don’t want to start a fast because we believe we can’t give up our favorite foods. Sacrifice for God, however, is an important discipline which fasting teaches.
If principles such as renewal, transformation, peace and self-control are important for you to develop in your life, then a consecration is a great place to start. Resuming “normal” eating habits after a fast, however, doesn’t mean going back to consuming the unhealthy foods, drinks, and habits! When you feel the difference in your body and mind without the extra sugar, salt, and even pounds – who knows? It may inspire you to make a permanent change.
Allow fasting, consecration and prayer to inspire you to use moderation as a lifestyle, to break the yoke of bondage to unhealthy habits, and to maintain a clearer connection with God.
FOR FURTHER READING: Genesis 1:29, Exodus 34:28, Leviticus 20:7, Esther 4:16, Joel 2:12-13, Daniel 1:8-14, 10:3; Matthew 6:16-18, 33; Luke 4:2-4. 18:12; Acts 13:2, 14:23; 1 Corinthians 7:5, Galatians 5:16-25.
REMINDER – Always check the ingredients in commercially prepared foods and juices. Many products which claim to be healthy still add sugar, salt, and other additives.
DISCLAIMER – The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Please consult your doctor or physician before starting any eating plan.