Super-charge your spiritual progress through rest and fasting | Pathways to God's PresenceMar 06, 2023
Today is the episode where we tackle all sorts of countercultural concepts, like fasting, silence and solitude, and rest as a form of worship. So let’s get to it!
You can watch Stephanie give this lesson on video format on our YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/3qGg1gv7z2o
You can listen to this episode on your favorite podcast app here: https://www.podcastics.com/episode/222370/link/
First, Stephanie reminds us that fasting is expected – not mandated. She also says that fasting requires a biblical purpose – otherwise it’s just going hungry. Fasting is a fast-track to intimacy with God, for the primary reason that He has declared it so. He has wired us to be body, soul and spirit, and in some mysterious way when we go without food, it nourishes our spirit. So fasting has to be undertaken with a deeply-rooted purpose that has to be biblical, otherwise it doesn’t fall under God’s ordained blessing and don’t expect anything from it except going hungry and being miserable.
She says, "Fasting is an accelerator of spiritual growth." Stephanie shares that fasting is a joyful privilege. WE GET TO FAST and when we do, as Christians, we access the ear of God in ways that He said work mysteriously. If you want the ear of God attentively tuned to your words, then fast. He always listens and hears you, of course. But He also promises that He bends His ear in undivided attention when we fast. Why would we not enjoy this privilege?
Stephanie gives us the details of fasting – what it is and what it is not; the purposes within it; and some tips and best practices for the proper focus and perspective. She says, “Fasting is super-charging God’s answers to our prayers, so fasting is also us inviting God to answer prayers as HE sees fit in even more powerful ways.”
She also reminds us that “fasting is an acquired taste” and it will require practice and growth. Fasting is a way to discover easter eggs in God’s plan for you—extra, special blessings that He will reveal only to those who enter into this most intimate privilege. So the question is not, Should we fast? But the question becomes, When do we start?
Throughout the rest of the episode, we cover Bible memorization, the disciplines of silence and solitude, and then focus on rest and sabbath. Rest is another countercultural concept, like fasting, silence and solitude. Stephanie focuses on the aspects of rest and the deep-seated freedom it brings. She brings up a few points: First, rest feels like it goes against our nature. Also, rest is countercultural. And finally, rest puts us face to face with our sin. Rest requires perseverance, and promises a plentiful yield of peace and harmony. Rest requires accountability, before God, before one another, as well as before our own souls and hearts.
How intentional are we about setting time to rest, and just as importantly, entering true rest in experience?
Stephanie says, “Rest is doing something you don’t normally do during the week, something you really enjoy, not to escape your life and empty your mind, but to live life to the fullest and fill your mind and heart with what brings you joy and pleasure.”
Let’s then focus on Jesus, who was after all, the Lord of Rest, the Lord of the Sabbath. Rest is a mindset. Just like work is a mindset. The world would have us believe that we should always work. That is bondage and slavery. But rest in Christ is available every day – not just once a week, or whenever you choose to incorporate patterns of rest in your life. A good rule of thumb, like with silence and solitude, is to incorporate daily rest, weekly rest, seasonal rest, and annual rest. Weave rest into your rhythms.
As you travel the pathway of rest deeper into God’s presence, you begin to acquire the perspective or worldview of heaven on rest. It is constantly available to the Christ-follower. Follow Christ on this pathway of rest because he is the Lord of the Sabbath. He knows the way. He will show you what it looks like for you specifically in your current season of life.
Catch up with Stephanie's latest episodes on the Gospel Spice podcast!