Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Lessons from the Daniel Fast

Our pastor invited the church to join in a 21 day Daniel fast this month. In it's simplest terms, the Daniel fast restricts dietary intake to fruits, vegetables and water and is based on the experience of the prophet Daniel recorded in Daniel 1:6-17.  The goals of this exercise in self-discipline can vary but I thought I'd share some of the lessons that I've learned as of day 11 of the fast:

  • There are as many different interpretations of a Daniel fast as there are people who have participated in a Daniel fast.  Just try Googling the term and you'll see what I mean. I finally settled on "no meats, no sweets, no wine" as my rule of thumb. 
  • I love fruits and vegetables but I'm glad that God created so many more foods for us to enjoy, too.
  • It's a good thing for folks on a Daniel fast that someone came up with the product Beano.  
  • I'm glad that I don't live under the dietary laws of the Old Testament Jews.  They would be impossible to keep. 
  • I understand better how God used the law to point us to the need for a Savior. Rules that seem like they'd be easy to follow, can quickly become a challenge. We humans are frail and flawed creatures!
  • Just by trying to restrict sweets, I realize how much of our western diet contains sweeteners of one kind or another.
  • I appreciate how much certain dairy products such as butter, milk and cheese enhance the flavor of foods but I've also learned that those same products can mask the natural flavors, too.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables aren't cost prohibitive when you are not investing in so many other less healthy and more expensive foods.  
  • I really can live without sweet tea.
  • I will appreciate more of the foods that I have given up during this fast and will not take them for granted nor indulge in them to excess. 
  • So many of the foods I have given up on this fast contribute to my weight problem.  Although weight loss was not the motivation for the fast, the scales have proven this to be true.  For that, I am thankful.
  • I have a better understanding of of the limited diet of so many people in poor countries who regularly live off of beans and rice and consequently, I more fully appreciate the blessings that God has given those of us who can enjoy so much variety in our diet.
This is just day 11 so I have 10 more days to go.  We'll see what God wants to teach me in these next 10 days.  

Have you ever tried a fast?  What was your experience?

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