Since it’s the first month of the year a lot of Christians are fasting, which is a means of consecration that includes a lot of prayer and a lot of cutting back on (certain) food for an extended period of time.
Fasting brings us closer to God; cleanses our bodies, helps to develop discipline and prepares us to hear more clearly from God. It requires us to limit certain foods, beverages, practices, and habits. It helps to manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-24), and it develops within us optimum spiritual, mental, and physical functionality (Daniel 1:18-20).
Have you ever wondered about fasting, but didn’t know where to start? If so, then know that you’re not alone.
7 Tips to Consecration Success
Here are 7 tips to help make your time of fasting and consecration a successful one:
- 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 to work in our lives. Fast to create a deeper relationship with God in your relationships, your home, your marriage, your church, and your life.
- 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, you may also decide to turn off secular media; to clean, de-clutter and organize your home, and to increase prayer and meditation time. Consider everything which enters the body – including intercourse – which you may limit for a time mutually agreed-upon with your spouse (1 Corinthians 7:5).
- Do your homework. When we fast, we limit the quantities and types 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 and recipes to those items. Use these foods as the foundation to create new recipes, or to alter existing recipes into a healthier version. It is also a great time to try new vegetarian or vegan options.
- Have only healthy snacks around the house and at work.Replace the chips, sodas, dairy, candy, sweeteners and other sugary items with healthy snacks like nuts, sliced fruits, unsweetened applesauce, figs, granola, blackberries or trail mix.
- 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, a good way to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, and a great meal-replacement option. Remember that pureed vegetable soups 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. Just be sure to check the ingredients of commercially-made soups though (they often have wayyyy to much sodium) or make your own.
- Drink lots & lots of water. When we drink lots of water, it flushes out impurities and helps to re-balance us. It also helps to fill us up and to keep the cravings at bay. Try starting each day of your fast by consuming more water than you usually do; start your morning with at least 1 glass of water. Drink half your body weight in ounces daily; work up to consuming 1 half-gallon of water by noon.
A Final Important Tip to Remember
Often, we don’t want to start a fast because we believe we can’t give up our favorite foods, or we’re afraid that we don’t have the strength or willpower. Sacrificing for God, however, is an important discipline which fasting teaches, and it brings us unparalleled clarity and connection to God. One thing that’s very important to remember when you’re enduring the rigors of a fast though: you will eat again.
But resuming “normal” eating habits after a fast doesn’t mean going back to consuming the unhealthy foods, drinks, and habits. Start by increasing your intake of foods like applesauce, nuts and pureed juices in your diet, instead of foods loaded with sugar. When you’ve experienced the difference in your body and mind after clearing out the extra sugar, salt, and even pounds – who knows? It may inspire you to make a permanent change. And if principles such as heightened awareness, mental transformation, peace, and self-control are important for you to develop in your life, then a consecration is a great place to start.
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.)