Fasting that Pleases God
Fasting today is done primarily to have a healthy body, as a way of dieting. But there’s a kind of fasting that pleases God – to give us not only a healthy body but above all, a healthy and holy soul. Here’s how.
Isaiah 58:1-9 6 Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me: to break unjust fetters, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break all yokes? 7 Is it not sharing your food with the hungry, and sheltering the homeless poor; if you see someone lacking clothes, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own kin? 8 Then your light will blaze out like the dawn and your wound be quickly healed over. Saving justice will go ahead of you and Yahweh's glory come behind you. 9 Then you will cry for help and Yahweh will answer; you will call and he will say, 'I am here.' If you do away with the yoke, the clenched fist and malicious words,
Fasting for a healthy body
I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for a year now, albeit on and off.
But this year, that’s one of the daily habits I’ve committed to. And so far, I’ve done it faithfully every day for the past month.
I use a 12-16 hour window where I fast from food and feast for 8 hours in a day.
But I must admit, I do it for a primarily healthy reason: to trim down my belly fat.
Because belly fat is definitely among the highest risk factors for cardiovascular disease, one of the major causes of death in the world.
I don’t want that. I stumbled upon this verse that now I’ve been claiming from the Lord:
Then the LORD said, “I will not allow people to live for ever; they are mortal. From now on they will live no longer than 120 years.” Genesis 6:3 GNBDK
I want to live the full number of years God allotted for me, even 120 years as He said. Not only that, I want to be like Moses too:
Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever. Deuteronomy 34:7 NLT
Experts say intermittent fasting allows our body to rest from always having to grind food and most importantly helps your body prevent glucose intolerance which causes your body to store glucose as fat instead of using it as fuel for energy.
So I started doing it and so far so good.
Waist Hip Ratio
To measure my progress, I use Waist-to-Hip Ratio or (WHR) as my metric.
I started with a WHR ratio of 1.07 inches and now it’s down to 1.03 inches. The ideal for women is less than 0.80 inches which is my goal.
For men, it’s less than 0.95 inches. As you can see in the chart above.
By the way, you can get your WHR by dividing your waist measurements by your hip measurements. Like so:
So mine right now is 36in. waist / 35in. hip measurement. My goal is 27-28 in. waist/35 in. hip which will give me a 0.77 – 0.8 in WHR.
Of course, aside from intermittent fasting I also do the following health habits:
- Moderate aerobic exercise: I do walking and dancing for 30 mins
- HIIT or high intensity intermittent training: I do a 4min tabata using mountain climber and active planks exercise to also train my core.
- Stress management: 5 min Thankfulness meditation and sometimes yoga stretching, and of course, prayer.
All these to help me achieve and maintain health for my body.
Fasting for a healthy, holy soul
But there’s a kind of fasting that strengthens the spirit and makes our soul healthy and holy.
The kind of fasting that pleases God.
Every Friday, for this Lenten season, the church is encouraging us to fast from food as part of the 3 major practices of Lent:
The priest in his homily today shared something that I think is beautiful.
2 P’s in fasting for a healthy, holy soul
He said there are 2 P’s to help us remember how we can fast, not only for our body, but to make our soul healthy and holy:
- Pagpugong: Our visayan dialect for Self-discipline
- Paghugugma: Our visyan dialect for Love as a verb.
And this is the fasting that pleases God:
- When we fast to increase self-discipline so we can control ourselves from focusing on worldly pleasures, sins of the flesh, or habits that only pleasure the body.
- And when we fast to strgnthen our love others. Fast from anger, from thinking of and saying bad things to others, doing everything out of love. Doing good for others as God inspires you.
That’s the fasting that pleases God.
How people usually fast
In contrast, this is what we usually do when we fast. Yes we do not eat food but we also do these:
“Well, here’s why: “The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit. You drive your employees much too hard. You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean fist. The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground. Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like? Isaiah 58:3-5 MSG
Here’s from another version:
The people ask, “Why should we fast if the LORD never notices? Why should we go without food if he pays no attention?” The LORD says to them, “The truth is that at the same time as you fast, you pursue your own interests and oppress your workers. Your fasting makes you violent, and you quarrel and fight. Do you think this kind of fasting will make me listen to your prayers? When you fast, you make yourselves suffer; you bow your heads low like a blade of grass, and spread out sackcloth and ashes to lie on. Is that what you call fasting? Do you think I will be pleased with that? Isaiah 58:3-5 GNBDK
Admittedly, yes I do that when I fast:
- I do my own interests
- I fight back especially when I think I’m in the right
- I’m not so available for my family even when I’m there physically
Fasting that pleases God
But what God wants is for us to love more, as fruit of our fasted life.
“The kind of fasting I want is this: remove the chains of oppression and the yoke of injustice, and let the oppressed go free. Share your food with the hungry and open your homes to the homeless poor. Give clothes to those who have nothing to wear, and do not refuse to help your own relatives. Isaiah 58:6-7 GNBDK
Here’s another version just for clarity:
“This is the kind of fast day I’m after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. What I’m interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. Isaiah 58:6-9 MSG
How I can practice fasting that pleases God
Here are a few points I can practice this kind of fasting that pleases God (I set it in bold in the above verses):
Add giving to my budget to ministries that do good in the world more than I can.
I give now to CBN Asia. I’ve been blessed hearing about their operation blessing, water projects, help for orphans, and many others on top of leading people to Christ. I feel the Lord is leading me to give more here.
Actually, I stumbled upon The 700 club videos on their YouTube channel and I was really blessed and inspired to see their worldwide ministry. I’m so happy they have CNB Asia which extends their ministry to Asia from where I am.
That’s why I’m fasting from buying more food, or anything really, that I like but don’t really need so I can have more money to give.
Not gossip about people’s sins
I don’t l gossip but I don’t mind hearing about others’ faults as well.
Now I will stop myself from listening when other people talk about others in any way.
Be more available to my family
Oftentimes, when my mama talks to me, especially about things she’s watching that she likes and don’t interest me, I don’t listen at all. I tell her I’m working and even interrupt her.
I will be more patient and available to my family.
My family had borrowed money from me and still does from time to time which they promised to pay.
I’m canceling and not remembering those anymore. Although, I don’t really remember them at all. But now I’m telling them they don’t have to pay me anymore.
Rewards for fasting that pleases God
When we do things that please God, He always rewards us in return because that’s just the way He is – a generous Father.
Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. Then when you pray, God will answer. You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, ‘Here I am.’ “If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins, If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I’ll give you a full life in the emptiest of places— firm muscles, strong bones. You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again. Isaiah 58:1-3, 3-9 MSG
Wow. I want that. Firm muscles and strong bones. It means not only will I have the health I’m looking for but also become a blessing to many others. I want to be used by You like that, Dearest.
Now your turn
So have you tried fasting for a healthy and holy body and soul?
If you haven’t yet tried any form of fasting, try it.
Better yet, try the kind of fasting that pleases God.
It will not only give you a whole lot of good but also help you do a whole lot of good.
Not only that, you’ll have life and prosperity with Jesus.
- Fast in a way that pleases God
- Fast to grow in self-discipline and love
- Fast to bless others
Help me to do the kind of fasting that pleases You, God, not only so I could have a healthy body but also have a healthy and holy soul, blessed and blessing others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
This is it for now. Till next time.
To our health, wealth, and victory – GODSPEED!