According to the ancient fathers of our faith, fasting food was a way to expose the bad desires within the body that allowed the soul to drift away from its intended purpose. Fasting is simply making the body say no to the pleasure of food. While we generally think of fasting as withholding food, there is also a whole-person fast that affects the mind, the body, and the spirit.
Fasting negativity is aligning one’s heart with God. The mouth and what comes out of it reflects what is going on in the heart. St. Athanasius and St. Augustine both helped the ancient believers to see that spirituality wasn’t just an interior process but also an outward practical exercise of participating with the will of God in their inner lives.
All of the books on fasting, including the most profound work by Scot McKnight, call attention to the whole person message of fasting. He remarks, “The tendency is to think that God will love us if we change, but God loves us so that we can change.” He defines fasting as a response to a grievous sacred moment.
Here’s the bottom line: Fasting is about getting the whole body engaged in the process of seeking God. Fasting negativity calls attention to what comes out of the mouth, rather than what goes into it.
Fasting negativity is simply a call to align your mouth with the goodness and wholesomeness of God’s activity in your life and monitoring the mouth in order to protect the soul and spirit.
We are a nation of quick talkers, loud talkers, and often negative talkers! Companies have entire departments and spend billions of dollars every year on handling complainers. Wherever humans are, you are going to hear complaining and generally a lot of it.
Fasting in the classical sense has to do with what goes into the mouth. Fasting negativity then concentrates on what comes out of the mouth.
We all should be careful not to live at the bottom of our minds where the dark suggestions from the underworld work to surface through our mouths. Negative thoughts are birthed from this pit, carrying all kinds of bad data, streams of consciousness, and deep-seated insecurities. Like a gushing oil well with no cap on it, a raw fuel suddenly bursts onto the scene.
Fasting negativity means those explosions are dealt with through the holding of one’s tongue, the washing of the Word through Bible reading, and weekly times of worship, which brings renewal to the mind.
Through the empowerment of God’s Spirit, it’s possible to feel down, feel grumpy, and irritable in your emotions, and yet never speak it into your work and family space. Like having a disturbance underneath the surface, offer it to the Lord in silent and verbal prayer, journal away the bad and speak only of the good.
Fasting negativity is in the middle of wisdom. James 3:5 says, “…but a tiny spark (word) can set a forest on fire…it can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” Fasting what comes out of your mouth may be even more important than what goes into your mouth. Would angels ever have the courage to say what you are saying about yourself? About others? Turn your ears to what’s coming out so that you might grow in even greater wisdom and goodness.
- Stop, drop, and roll immediately on negative words. When you hear yourself allowing negativity on the surface, change your sentences midstream to words that would please God.
- Refrain, reframe, and rename the negatives in your life. Pray through the pain and hurt in your life that God might reveal more of who He has created you to be.
- Don’t take the bait, make the tongue wait. Too much talking leads one to error but one who trusts in the Lord stays steady in his/her dependence upon Him.