Fasting Or Lifestyle?

 

Have you ever heard of the “Daniel fast?” It is a dietary fast of only vegetables and water, based on Daniel 1:8-17. I’ve heard of it being used by churches here in America for Christians who, for whatever reason, can’t or won’t do a “complete” fast of no food. How blessed are we to live in a time and place where a diet of just vegetables is considered a sacrifice? I mean, “God, you must hear my prayer because I’m giving up steak…and CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES for You!” 

Gee, that sounded critical- not my intention. In reading the above mentioned passage this morning, I realized Daniel wasn’t “fasting”- as in “abstaining from certain foods for a specific period of time for the purpose of focusing on or hearing from God.” He was just trying to follow God’s dietary instructions in a society or situation where he could have easily indulged himself. I guess you could say he was living his whole life in a way that sought to focus on and honor God. Now the “test” was only for ten days. But the purpose of the test was so Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could continue that dietary plan for as long as they wanted. Incidentally, by following these dietary guidelines, Daniel and his friends were healthier (and had better mental functioning) than the rest of the king’s court.

My point here is not to declare myself a vegetarian or to say anyone else should be. I like steak and chocolate chip cookies…a LOT. I’m just pointing out that Daniel wasn’t a periodic seeker of God, it was his lifestyle. Perhaps instead of having periodic “Daniel Fasts” in churches, we could should model our lives after his devotion to God. Here’s something else: because of his devotion, God used him and blessed him…and others got jealous, but that didn’t stop him from doing the right thing.

This was a repeated pattern in his life. In Daniel 6: 3-4, we read:

Because of his extraordinary spirit, Daniel soon surpassed the other officers and the chief administrators—so much so that the king had plans to set him over the entire kingdom. As a result, the other officers and the chief administrators tried to find some problem with Daniel’s work for the kingdom. But they couldn’t find any problem or corruption at all because Daniel was trustworthy. He wasn’t guilty of any negligence or corruption. (Daniel 6:3, 4 CEB) 

 

You see, Daniel was so righteous, he prospered. And others wanted to take that prosperity away from him, but they couldn’t find any fault with which they could bring him down. And it hit me, I don’t want to want to eat like Daniel, I want to live like Daniel. I want to behave in such a way at home, in public, and especially at work, that others find me trustworthy, faithful, consistent, and non-corruptible; not for the purpose of seeking prosperity, but for the purpose of seeking and glorifying God.

 

The story goes on to tell us that Daniel’s enemies proceeded to find away to use his righteousness against him; to make his godly right a cultural wrong. Tell me THAT doesn’t happen today! Are we as faithful as Daniel to keep doing right by God’s standard?

Another thing I’ve learned: God blesses that kind of life, but He doesn’t make it easy. Daniel had enemies BECAUSE he was good. We’ve all heard the saying, “no good deed goes unpunished.” People who want to do the wrong thing are uncomfortable around those who do right. I know. I’ve been on both sides. When you’re doing what you know you shouldn’t be doing and your friend is uncompromising in doing right, you want to bring them down a peg so you don’t feel so guilty…or alone. Misery loves company! Recently I experienced this with my husband, who is doing really good with his diet and exercise. I want peanut M&M’s and I don’t have make time to go to the gym. I caught myself trying to discourage him in my jealous guilt! For shame! Definitely not a “Daniel” moment.

Here is the challenge: live today seeking God’s purposes and doing the right thing. If others attack or criticize or try to discourage, recognize it as their problem and keep doing right. If you find yourself in a situation where YOU are getting snippy about someone else doing right, check yourself and let it motivate you to do right and lift you up.

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6 Responses to Fasting Or Lifestyle?

  1. CR says:

    Well said, how true & what a challenge! I pray that “we”, the Church body, would lift one another up and encourage each other to be a “Daniel” as we live in “Babylon”….strive to live a lifestyle of utter abandonment to God with absolute faith, trust and hope in Him.

  2. yalandarose says:

    another concern i had with the “Daniel fast” it is implied to some congregations that after completing it, they will receive a special, (material) blessing almost as if it is a good luck charm, totally taking Daniel’s intention and the Scripture out of context

    • tlhumphries says:

      Really?! Unfortunately, there are many such misinterpretations of scripture by those looking for merely material blessings. Yet when we get the material blessings, we just indulge ourselves in stuff that distract us further from our relationship with God.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Arny Sanchez says:

    “I’m just pointing out that Daniel wasn’t a periodic seeker of God, it was his lifestyle”

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