From my book, Pause: The Secret to a Better Life One Word at a Time.
The topic didn’t put an immediate smile on my face. I could almost hear my stomach growl while planning the presentation. I wanted to pause the study, forget the subject, and drive down the road to order a pork sandwich plate. With chips. And red velvet cake.
But, I stuck to the subject. A subject discussed in Scripture and practiced through the years. A subject often misunderstood and applied improperly. A subject we need to remember and receive:
Saying goodbye to food—or other things we normally depend upon—to invest time and dedication to prayer, intercession, petition, meditation, and devotion. Subtracting a portion of our normal routine in order to add more time with the Listener.
When hoping to help students learn, teachers have the honor of learning from their students. Our discussion regarding fasting taught me. The decisions students made revealed their passion, their willingness to pursue time with God, their dedication to Him.
We talked about giving up food, about biblical references, about historical understanding, about impure motives, about books explaining fasting, about seeking medical permission and advice, about addition by subtraction. The students made valuable decisions as they dedicated a spiritual addition through a willing subtraction of common, habitual routines.
Any guesses? Music. Text messages. Facebook. Twitter. Video games. Movies. Time with friends. And, the biblical fast, food.
Adding time with God by subtracting our routine can be healthy. It isn’t seeking to improve our ranking or score religious points or lure God into action. It shouldn’t take the place of caring for others. Scripture rebukes the fake effort toward religious stat sheets. Fasting is to never be seen as a means toward improving our spiritual grade. Or losing weight. But proper fasting is needed. It moves us away from what we normally do; it moves us toward a new place with a new mind and a new perspective.
So, take a little time to investigate your use of time. Subtract a little of your routine to add an experience with God. Ask. Seek. Knock. Listen. Think. Learn. Meditate. In silence, in petition, in intercession, in reverence. Removing the normal and entering the spiritual. Noticing the spiritual in the normal. Finding God in the nearby, the regular, the real. And choosing to value the importance of Him.