in isaiah 58 there is a good description of what i like to call a fast like no other and this describes for me the revelation of deprivation. a fast is deprivation of considered needs. but look at what we, in the modern era, have considered needs we choose to fast. things like tv, radio, internet, certain foods, certain pleasures, and anything that can fall into the category we deem as a must. then i ask myself, why would i even fast? what is the purpose? the bible spells something out and i believe in our interpretation we find our reason to fast that will line up with scripture.
lets talk about what we consider a must.
i have deprived myself of indulging entertainment on tv, internet, or media, if you will. i believe if you were to NOT watch tv for a month you would find enlightenment in your life. you would be able to look back on that time and see where you truly excelled in thought and intellect, even apart from prayer and bible study. things seem coherent, and introspection was great, and even enjoyable. the same can be said for internet, and for radio. now, is tv or media evil? of course not, i am only able to communicate on this forum because of the internet. however, is the majority of media used for the advantage or advancement of our souls? more than likely not. what i am getting at is that media is not something that is detrimental for our well being. if you woke up tomorrow and media wasn't there it would create chaos, but only for a short time period. we would all learn to adapt.
i could go on and on about food. this is what i find myself pulling from when i want to fast. i can go this amount of time without this, or that much time without that. how about this one, i will only eat this for this time period. i don't think anyone i know has a problem with gluttony or any eating disorders. however, i question what some individuals might actually be able to give up or admit that really is something they feel they cannot go without. many see a delicious meal, or particular food item and immediately their mind is drawn to how it tastes, and how it makes them feel after they taste it. i know, cause i do it too. even though i am teetering on the idea of giving up red meat, the moment i boldly claim so is the moment i want it all the more. this rings true for more of us than you think. even though i want to give it up, i know how good and juicy a piece of fajita beef from mariano's is. it then becomes a mind issue. you want it because your mind wants it and is telling you to want it. you think you need it cause your mind has enjoyed it for so long and it is telling you there is no way to live without it. make sense?
it seemingly is a must because the mind is telling you it is a must.
the issue then for deprivation is the control of the mind. isaiah 58:6 - "is this not a fast which i choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke." i believe a fast is about undoing bands of yoke on our lives. what we see as must is only a must because of the hold our minds have on our actions. this requires a great deal of humiliation. there is nothing more humiliating to me then when i have to say i can't. i love that isaiah describes it as "loosening the bonds of wickedness." these bonds are not always manifested in ways we commonly attribute, like drunkenness, pornography, addiction to drugs, depression, or immorality. these bonds of wickedness can be the very every day activity we casually call habit that lead us away from our affection for christ. i think god has been faithful time after time to speak regardless of whether or not i fast. the focus of the fast is important in my perspective. if i say i am doing it to hear god, i wonder at times whether or not this is actually selfish and even more so religious. the reason being, is that i am not fasting for the sake of deprivation, but the sake of selfish fulfillment. i wonder if fasting is not meant for those who are so desiring god to hear them (isaiah 68:4) rather than them to hear god. i heard one individual put it this way, people who fast for the right reasons are so interested in pouring out to god that food and other things don't matter. it, more or less, was a description of one who simply forgot about food because they were seeking god so hard. i don't know anyone who has ever done that more than a day. then again, maybe that is the revelation one needs to get of the importance of fasting.
as far as cleansing goes...the brain needs to be reminded of submission from time to time. what better way of doing that then denying oneself of those simple pleasures one thinks are important. this is a truly beneficial principle for us all. what do you think?