Thursday, March 14, 2024

Learning Humility Through Fasting Part 2


By: Donna Bucher

This is the second in a two-part series on learning humility through fasting, if you haven’t read the first part you can do that HERE.


If you have done a physical fast, you know the challenges and the unpleasant side effects of going without food for any period. A physical fast is hard on the body, which is why many Christians today exclude the practice from their regular spiritual disciplines.

Additionally, due to the strain it does put on the physical body, some believers simply cannot endure a physical fast for health reasons. Enter alternative fasting.

A variety of ways exists to nurture humility through alternative fasting ideas you may not have considered.

Fostering intimacy with God involves fasting of some type; a relinquishing of trivial distractions and preoccupations, pursuing satisfaction in a deeper presence of Christ.

Alternate Fasting Ideas

Fast from harsh words. Bring your awareness to times you speak harshly, unkindly, or abruptly. Instead, replace harsh words with kind and patient words, encouragement, compassion, and forgiveness.

Fast from sadness. Notice areas where you dwell on past hurts, injustices, or disappointments. Notice any “victim” tendencies, and gently choose to release self-pity and replace these feelings with gratitude and forgiveness.

Fast from negativity. Bring awareness to negative thoughts, attitudes, and words. Reframe the negativity with hope from scripture.

Fast from complaining. Listen for complaining words, notice complaining thoughts and instead seek gratitude and contentment.

Fast from words. Take time and sit quietly; listen to sounds around you, prayerfully seek God’s voice. Consider how much you hear when you cease speaking.

Fast from selfishness. Seek awareness of your self-focus, paying attention to areas where you demand your way. Instead, intentionally look for ways of serving others compassionately.

Fast from worry. Notice areas of worry and anxiety within your thoughts and tension within your body. Gently release these thoughts placing them in God’s hands. Speak verses of God’s promises into the areas of concern.

Fast from anger. Bring awareness to feelings of anger without rehearsing the situation. Simply notice the emotion and how it feels in your body. Release the anger and seek a response of patience and compassion.

Fast from bitterness and resentment. Bring awareness to these feelings without rehearsing the situation. Speak words of forgiveness over the situation, releasing the hurts to God and receiving joy.

Physical fasting as outlined in the Bible offers many benefits for spiritual growth and intimacy with God, as we learned last week. It is a spiritual discipline on par with Bible reading, prayer, and worship, which demonstrates obedience to God, and we must not lightly discard physical fasting.

The ideas for alternate fasting I suggest here, are intended to enrich a physical fasting practice, or provide an enriching alternative when physical fasting remains unsafe from a health perspective.

Submitting to a fasting practice nurtures humility as you deny yourself in specific areas.

My prayer for you as you learn humility through fasting, is a willingness for honest self-reflection, and an eager openness for change.

Whether you submit to the discomfort of foregoing food, a favorite activity, a regular pleasure you enjoy or your own way of doing things, the result is better self-control, a greater longing for God, and deeper intimacy in your relationship with God.


What was the most important lesson on fasting and humility which you learned through this series?

Which of the ideas mentioned above most interest you?




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