Learnings from the Daniel Fast
2017 seemed to go by in a flash, but that wasn’t surprising. It just reminded me to make each day count, to not waste time and to try and be purposeful and fruitful in all that I do.
Ephesians 5:16, reminds us to make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Everything has to be purposeful, a part of something bigger than myself and for the benefit of pleasing my heavenly Father.
As a result of this, God put it on my heart to do the Daniel Fast at the start of the summer last year, at that stage I just prayed about it and waited until I could be sure that this was what God wanted me to do. Looking back, there was no need to keep praying about it, walking in what God has said is all you need to do.
What is the Daniel Fast?
For those who don’t know, The Daniel Fast is a partial fast, where certain foods are eliminated from your normal diet. Daniel was a Old Testament prophet, he lived during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, who had come to Jerusalem and taken it captive.
During this time of captivity, where many where treated unfairly, Daniel and three other men where shown favour by King Nebuchadnezzar, they were chosen to be in the kings royal household. The other three men where Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Daniel and his compatriots proved to be the wisest of all the trainees, and at the end of their training, they entered the service of King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 1:1-6).
The life of Daniel can in many ways be compared to that of Joseph, who also prospered in foreign lands and leadership.
What made Daniel different during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar, was that there were certain standards and a moral code he would not break. Now Daniel did yield, without protest, to many aspects of his new life. Such as the change in his name and his new schooling. However, one thing he refused to compromise on and tolerate was eating the kings meat and wine. Daniel 1 vs 8. He deemed it a defilement, and became a vegetarian. As their health improved, the and others were permitted to continue with their chosen diet.
The Daniel Fast is not just about refusing to eat certain foods or removing things from our diet due to a ritual or to show we are healthy. Its much more than that. The object of the fast is to also be mindful of what comes out of our mouth as well.
In Matthew 15:11, Jesus warns us, “What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them." Sacrifice in this area, reaps the benefits of discipline in every area.
Fasting without careful consideration for everything we do, can lead to the practice becoming a religious act, as opposed to a act of love and sacrifice for God.
A further learning from partaking in this sacrifice, is that the MIND is altered. The Word of God shows you, that in fact this is more then refusing to eat meat, its about walking even closer with Jesus, in that walk you find peace with the only one who can give it to you. Things that may have seemed appealing in 2017, or even two days ago, no longer interest you. Not because they have changed, but because God is moulding and crafting something different in you.
Dependence on God is key, in and out of season. Every day. In my weakness, He is strong. I thank God for that.
Also a pleasing offering to the Lord doesn’t just last for five, six,or 21 days. It lasts a lifetime. The fast may have ended but the sacrifice and surrender never will. I give glory to God for that.
Meat is not everything. When I started this fast I thought this will be hard. Growing up in a Caribbean household, I am used to my Trinidadian mum making curry chicken and roti as well as my Dad, who was from St Kitts making curry goat. The food is so legit, its unbelievable. I can make these foods now myself, and as a result I don’t need someone to force me into indulgence when it comes to the foods I enjoy.
But too much of a good thing is not good for you. Before the fast I ate meat three times a week at least. I will now reduce this to four times a month. The amount of creative recipes out there that don’t contain meat is unbelievable. I found so many pleasing foods, its made it hard to go back to the how it was before. Even my bread intake has reduced.
I always have days when I look at a fry up and think to myself, “Wow, I would love to eat that, it looks so good.” Or I go to a restaurant with a friend and see lots of amazing foods on the menu and of course I am tempted by the heavy duty options. But for me, its how I feel after I have eaten something that makes it hard for me to continue to indulge.
Rich foods with lots of sugar and spice are nice. But when I drink a fruit smoothie or eat a bean burger instead of beef, I find my mind is clearer and I think better. God speaks to me, shows me things, inspires me. Its strange but that is how it is for me. Everyone is different.
Discernment, Mangos and Ginger
Fresh ginger, I always loved fresh ginger. Hot ginger tea with a bit of honey. It keeps the colds at bay. I love it. Adding ginger to any main meal means you are adding something special.
Mangos and cherries, always my favourite fruits and now they have become even more of a sacred companion.
Discernment increased. When is the right time to do something, when to hold off. What projects to start and how to move forward with BeLifted. BeLifted has been a gem for me. To see people come and be changed and inspired by the Gospel tunes while working out is humbling. To be used as a vessel by God to help others is always humbling. When I am weak, God is strong.
This month (January 2018), I had the privilege of training elderly men and women and those with partial disabilities. Wow, how amazing is our God. One client told me he had sciatica and that from doing the Gospel workout it improved his condition. Never discount or eliminate anyone. Everyone is valuable to God and has something great to offer. Whether we chose to see it or not.
In the coming months there will be pregnant clients attending the classes and we are now holding our second MIDWEEK class. God is MORE than ABLE.
Be a Pleasing Witness
Finally, I’m pretty sure I have forgotten some other key part, but nevertheless, I finish by saying that value, worth and identity is key. Many of the BeLifted tweets and Instagram posts talk about this. Its a key thing for me. When you know who you are, when God shows you. There is nothing that can take it away (1 Corinthians 6:17).
Its almost like you are walking along a beach, though the wind and the waves crash against you, it doesn’t make you depart from your first love. Never destroy your witness by partaking in something that God does not want you to do. Sometimes, when you remain strong and connected to God, even though your flesh is weak, the Spirit is always willing.
Doing that always reaps a brilliant harvest and through it, you never know who will come to know Christ, because you never destroyed your witness.
Though we are imperfect, we are made perfect because of what Christ did on the cross for us. Learn from those who went before us in the Old and New Testament. The Apostles in the book of Acts were so strong and steadfast. The truth had been revealed. They would not cower Not faint. Not bow Or about face/Be His mouth piece even when under attack (Da’ T.r.u.t.h.).
Jesus, the author and finisher. Our first love, when everything else fails or leaves. He will remain.
Jesus never destroyed His witness.
Be a Pleasing Witness.