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Sabbatical

Posted on July 23, 2013 at 7:15 PM

I was at my friend Tom’s church this past Sunday. He taught about fasting and taking time out of your life for God. I have fasted before, but not much, so I’d like to instill that as a somewhat regular practice. I’m not sure what form it will take, but I’ll be praying about what God wants me to do in that area. Of course, often I would be fasting from food for a short time, but we can fast from other things, too. Tom said to think about things that we allow to come before God and to consider fasting from those things (e.g. Facebook, TV, etc.), too.

He also talked about taking sabbaticals, which he does pretty often. It doesn’t have to be like professors who take a year or two off. It can be as little as an afternoon and can increase from there if you feel called or just want to try more time. I’ve done it for part of a day before, but this is another area I’d like to make a regular occurrence in my spiritual walk. If you’re not sure what I mean by sabbatical in the Christian sense, it’s really about taking time out of your life to devote to God. It’s NOT a vacation. Vacations are about me and my desires. Sabbaticals are about connecting on a deeper level with God. The focus is on Him, not me. When I did it before, I went to a state park, turned off my phone, and just had my Bible and a journal with me. Yours may not look just like mine, but the idea is to separate yourself from the “world” in order to really concentrate on God and what He might be trying to share with you. It can just be you worshiping Him, learning/reading about Him, or whatever else He leads you to do.

I know that both of these may be a challenge for me. I’m not the most disciplined of people. I’m very mood/emotion driven. (I even forget to eat if I don’t actually feel hungry.) So, I will need to figure out how to work WITH my crazy brain rather than against it. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m open to them!

If you’re interested I’m including the link to Tom’s message: Message

 

Categories: religion, personal

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4 Comments

Reply monicawhaley
11:53 AM on July 24, 2013 
Fair enough.
Reply Rayne
11:14 AM on July 24, 2013 
I can certainly see that. But I guess I view life as more of a feast with the Lord. I would rather bring God into whatever I'm doing than limit what I do. I'm with him regardless! The natural world is for our enjoyment, within the confines of what He says is right. I'm worshipping God just as much when I'm eating as when I'm praying. Not just by the physical acts, but by the attitude of my heart. The Lord sets a table before me in the presence of my enemies, why would I refuse the meal to be with Him when He is already there? The Christian life is one of abundant life, of a cup pressed down, shaken together, and running over. But I also believe God speaks to us all differently. I have no doubt He calls some to fast, and others to feast. Neither is better than the other when they are from God!
Reply monicawhaley
9:05 PM on July 23, 2013 
Perhaps getting close to him isn't the best way to describe it. It's really about getting distractions and idols out of the way of our relationship with God. If we fast from items or activities that we often choose over God, it can only draw us close to Him and help us to hear Him better. Hopefully that carries beyond the fasting time, but since we are human and flesh loving, we will need to re-calibrate on a regular basis. Tom mentioned that when Paul (or Christ) was talking to believers, he said WHEN you fast and pray. This says that he assumes that fasting is to be a regular discipline on the level of prayer. Of course, fasting from food or whatever can be about seeking God's direction in some situation, too.
Reply Rayne
8:37 PM on July 23, 2013 
I've struggled with fasting, but not just because I'm not good at it. Jesus said how can the guests of the bridegroom fast when he is with them? He did say they will fast when he is taken from them, and I'm sure the disciples did fast up until pentacost. But I'm saved, I have the indwelling of the Spirit of God, the bridegroom is with me. The only examples in scripture of fasting, after the gospels (that I can think of) are when the disciples needed to make an important decision and used fasting to clear their minds. If we use fasting to get closer to God, it seems like a gnostic practice, that my flesh is evil and I have to beat it into submission so I can get more of God. I have the entirety of God living in me, and God declared the natural world good. I'm saved, I've been redeemed, I am a new creation, my nature is no longer fallen, but risen! So where, other than practical clearing of the mind, does fasting fit into the Christian's life?