Main Summary: Knowing God Through Fasting by Elmer Towns is a must-read if you desire to grow in God. The book best explains what fasting is all about—knowing God. The author put together 10 chapters on different subjects, how to begin the process of fasting, and what you can expect from it. He also explained how you can sustain a life of fasting, through discipline, hunger, and a burning desire for God. To the end that you would know God Intimately.
Lessons You’ll Learn From This Post
1. Emptying Yourself
2. Hunger For His Presence
3. Learning To Wait
4. Responding To His Call
5. How To Enjoy Fasting
6. Growth Through Knowing Him
7. The Discipline of Fasting
8. Resting Through Fasting
According to the author if you want to be filled with God you must first empty yourself. Jesus will only fill an empty life. You can’t be filled with ambitions, diverse lusts, personal goals, and self; then yet expect to be filled of God.
In emptying yourself; the process is called repentance. This is where you tell God how sorry you are, and that you are willing to turn back and not return to your past.
Fasting to know God doesn’t begin with seeking God or trying to learn more about him. You start by emptying yourself into surrender.
Emptying yourself goes beyond pouring out what may be inside you, it also means washing out your inside.
Fasting is emptying and cleansing yourself of food physically. while cleansing yourself through surrender and repentance is cleansing yourself spiritually.
According to the author, God will not hear you because you stopped eating. It is coming to God empty of food and self that creates a place in you for him to fill.
Hunger For His Presence
The reasons why you need to fast vary and are many. Such as; to break free from an addiction, for healing, to solve a lingering problem, or for a revival in your life. However, according to the author; the greatest reason to fast is for Knowing God and to feed on his word.
True fasting requires that you turn from earthly food to feed on God. In feeding on God, you get to have a taste of God’s presence. This kind of fast will make you more anxious about God, making you feed on spiritual things than eat physical food.
In the author’s words; you fast to taste God’s presence, anticipating that he’ll meet with you. You can develop your taste for God as you get to taste him in his presence; which will make you hooked on him.
Another aspect of this hunger leads to waiting. It is in waiting for God during a fast that grows your faith in him. The author remarks that spirituality is an intensional exercise. It is a decision you must make to seek God and sacrifice other pursuits for.
Learning To Wait
Waiting, according to the author is firsts God’s nature. And when we learn to wait we grow to become like him. Waiting doesn’t come naturally for man, so it is right to ask and receive grace to learn the art of waiting on God.
Using this illustration, “just like you don’t gather fruits when they aren’t ripe.” the author said; that some prayers will not get answers until the time is right. This makes waiting an art every believer must learn and pray to be taught by God to possess.
Why? This is because there may be things you need to learn or some circumstance that needs to change. With God timing is everything. He is not in a hurry and you can’t hurry him more than he wants to move.
The author said, waiting on God adds to and renews our strength. He noted that the best way to wait is to wait on God quietly. You can find a quiet place when you fast to wait on the Lord alone. It should be a place you can meditate, read scriptures and pray. He added getting still in God’s presence without prayer to also hear from God.
He said for those who are so actively driven this might seem boring to them. but waiting on God isn’t just sitting and doing nothing, it is an active process that involves your mind, emotion, and will to engage.
Responding To His Call
How do you respond or come to God when he calls you into a fast. According to the author, we may have different reasons why we fast. such as; fear, love for God, or learning His ways, but the most important should be for Knowing God more.
When God calls a man to his presence, he desires total commitment and not just some part of you. Why? Because added to his calling you are enablement and strength to come before him.
How To Enjoy Fasting
Fasting is a way to drink from God’s presence. According to the author, there are two basic kinds of fast. First is when you don’t eat any solid food or drink any liquids. It is called an absolute fast.
The second is when you don’t eat any solid food but drink water. He stated that only a few people can go beyond two to three days without water. However, the physical pains become so daunting that they are unable to pray with a clear mind or a focused spirit.
He recommends not to try an absolute fast for more than 3 days as it can cause harm to your system. Stating that, while some drinking water when they fast and some don’t; fasting is not about whether you drink water or not because that isn’t what draws you close to God.
The secret of fasting, he said, is in your hunger after righteousness. Why? because you may fast without drinking from God. Fasting on its own will get you thirsty, but you must decide to drink from God by immersing yourself in scriptures, prayers, meditation, and fellowshipping with him.
It is this focusing on God that brings you to the point where you begin to see his will concerning your life. Then you can hear him guide you through his inner voice and much more. It is in your drinking from him that you touch and are touched by him as well.
Growth Through Knowing Him
Concerning this subject, the author noted that the consequence of continuous fun and relaxation is that you deny yourself the nutrition available in God’s word, prayer, and fellowship with Christ and the saints, which will eventually lead to death. (Spiritual separation from God).
Also when you are given to busyness and activities your roots never grow deep into the life of God. Likewise, when you are planted amongst sinful fellows your growth will be choked away.
However, when you plant yourself in God’s presence and leave yourself to grow in the direction of the move of God in your inward man, you will find that you grow. The author noted that for this to happen you must put aside your growth agenda if you must grow in God’s will and ways for your life.
Fasting leads to light and more understanding. It creates an appetite for the soul to desire to know God. The truth is, all of mankind’s problems originated from sin periods. Moment where you gave sin room to dominate you. Sin always hinders or keeps you from knowing God.
In the book, he described four pictures that can help you understand what knowing God means. They are:
1. A Son knowing his father.
2. A wife knowing her husband.
3. A sheep knowing his shepherd.
4. Followers knowing their king.
In the above four pictures, he described three relationships.
i. Firstly, looking up to the other with respect.
ii. Secondly, a person whom you know takes responsibility for your welfare.
iii. Thirdly, the person like God who chooses to allow himself to be known or unknown.
With these relationship descriptions, you can see the benefits you’ll have in coming to know God through fasting. Such as being strong, and possessing God’s ability to resist temptation and persevering through difficult seasons. Trusting in God and exercising faith in the one whom you have come to know.
The Discipline of Fasting
The author described fasting as a discipline. He said, “Just as running is a discipline, so also is fasting.” it is a skill you must be willing to learn and an art to acquire.
Just like it is in running, the more you run, the further you can run, or the more distance you can cover. So also it is with fasting. After mastering one day fast, you can then go for 3 days, 7 days, or 21 days fast. On the other hand, the author only recommends the 40 days fast, when you are so instructed by God.
Every discipline begins with a decision, which is followed closely by an action. Why? Because it is no use deciding to fast to know God and never take a step to begin.
This act of discipline is a personal responsibility no one can take for you. You can pray about it and not do it. In other words, You must deny yourself, take up your cross of difficulties, and follow Christ daily.
According to the author, you can’t naturally force or beat your flesh into submitting to the discipline of fasting. No! Rather you must first be in Christ, then look unto Jesus to allow his indwelling presence in you to guide you into a life of discipline.
Just as Christ learned obedience through the things he suffered, you also must learn obedience from him. This entire process of following Christ through discipline will then take away your attention from the voice of physical appetites.
Resting Through Fasting
The author described two kinds of rest. First is the rest, when a believer goes to be with the Lord. Secondly, is a rest from struggles with sin, wild imaginations, condemning conscience, or a striving heart.
In fasting, you can prepare for your next level. It helps you get set for your next phase of growth, responsibility, and service. It will help you refocus on the next task ahead.
Sometimes, you may feel spiritually drained, such times call for fasting. Or even when your heart is empty, that is, inability to sense or decern God’s will, that’s a call to fast.
Most times God may not force or call you to a fast, but according to the author, He can make you tired. Such that you desire or long for rest in him. He just induces in you spiritual hunger. These are calls to take a break to fast.
In the long run of Knowing God through fasting, the author recommends not to get carried away. You can’t fast forever. God doesn’t only lead you to the still waters, he also leads you away from them.
Fasting can provide a place for you to be revitalized and find rest for your soul and spirit. It can provide a place to receive fresh instructions or reproofs to aid you in your assignment.
But it doesn’t end there. You must again pick up from the place of rest, and rise to your responsibilities and assignments again. You must come out from the still waters to again pursue and accomplish the new instructions you have just received.
In conclusion, the book “Knowing God Through Fasting by Elmer Towns” sums up fasting not to be a mere religious activity. Rather, it is a powerful tool in the hand of the believer for knowing God. It is an art, and also a spiritual exercise, that isn’t so easy to master.
Therefore it requires discipline and learning to master the art. Through fasting you can empty yourself of “self” and get filled with God. You can taste, touch, and carry the personality of God wherever you go. And just in case you feel all drained in your inner man, fasting is one way to rest in God and find the strength to begin again.
Finally, here’s my question for you.
What has been your greatest challenge about fasting, and how did you get over it, or how do you plan to get over it?
I will love to hear from you, please leave your answer and comment in the comment box below.
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