There are two suggested “meal plans” with TLT. I think “Eating Plan 1” is for the birds. I take strong issue with it. This option advocates scheduled eating a certain way…and I could never choose that route as it would lead to bondage for me.

The other option, is waiting for hunger and stopping when satisfied. The old 0 and 5 that Thin Within uses.

Unfortunately, Mike Cleveland advocates waiting for a “belly growl” as the sure sign of hunger. I take issue with that, too. 🙂 Hunger is a sensation, not a sound. For many people it will be accompanied by a growl, but for the larger percentage of us, a growl accompanies digestive sounds…when we have food in our bodies and it is being processed! We may not experience a growl when we are truly stomach hungry. Thin Within teaches us to get in tune with the stomach pouch to really learn what empty feels like. I love that about Thin Within.

For those who select “Eating Plan 1” (the scheduled eating), fasting appears to be recommended and (depending on who you talk to ) *required* to be a part of TLT. I didn’t feel that the workbook alone presented it quite so “black and white.” A wonderful program, The Lord’s Table would be *perfect* in my book if it would drop the “scheduled eating” plan and definitely NOT endorse fasting for weight loss. I know that is probably not the heart of what they have in mind, but that is how it can come across. So please be cautious.

I believe so strongly that fasting is *not* to be done for weight loss that I ignore this teaching if I feel it comes up. No, I don’t mean I ignore the teaching on fasting…

What I feel convicted about is that fasting can be done to break the stronghold of sin…How? Well, when I fast because the Lord has led me to do so (as opposed to a schedule I am supposed to follow, created by man), then food isn’t an issue.

Let me explain: When fasting, any thoughts of “Should I eat now?” or “Am I hungry now?” are basically moot. It doesn’t matter. Likewise, those thoughts of “I want that…it sounds good….” …the thoughts of food outside of hunger–all thoughts of food have no pull on me because of my God-directed commitment to fast that day.

Instead, feelings of hunger or head hunger are used by God to remind me that I am a humble creation, he is the amazing Provider. I can invite him to use those cues to cause me to pray for others, for me to be free from the hold of anything that isn’t from Him. I in no way condone justifying fasting as a way to lose weight as I believe this is very contrary to God’s heart on this issue. That is self-centered and not for God’s glory.

Even when I am not fasting, I can take what I learn during a fast. The “bond” that food has had on me previously, it didn’t have during a fast…so apply that same principle during non-fast days…no food outside of 0 and 5 (hunger and satisfaction). If it calls, I am “fasting”…and turn it into prayer and worship like I do when God has called me to fast for a set period of time.

NOTE: If you struggle with anorexia at all, please DO NOT take this as justification for refusing to submit this struggle to the Lord. Refusing to eat what your body needs to sustain your life is OUT OF GOD’S WILL just as OVEREATING is out of God’s will. Please allow Him to do His work in you. There is no condemnation for you, but neither is there rational godly reason to withold food from your body and to call it a godly fast.

God used TLT to help me to begin to be able to fast for *godly* reasons. This was a major miracle because while I had walked in relative freedom for over a year with regard to eating too much food, I still felt fear about fasting. God used TLT to challenge me to a new level of trust (and I know he wants me to revisit that, as I have gotten some distance from that work he did in me…). In fact, I know that it is no “accident” that I am looking at this lesson now. 🙂

So, hopefully with all those disclaimers and caveats aside… 🙂 Let’s see what TLT teaches in Day 4 about fasting. Truthfully, I can’t do the lesson justice here. It is powerful and encouraging! So here is just a taste of it…

The focus passage for the lesson is Isaiah 58:6-11. I urge you to look it up in your bible. The lesson brings up some principles that come from this passage and Mike Cleveland, the author of TLT, does a good job explaining this:

* Fasting should be freeing!!!
* Fasting should be healing!!!
* Fasting should be SATISFYING!!! (Interesting, isn’t it, how giving up food can actually BE and should be for godly reasons…satisfying? :-))

Additionally, while fasting, I am to:
* worship
* pray
* confess
* listen to the Lord


Other “nots:”

* I am not to be grouchy
* I am not to tell anyone else I am fasting
* I am not to act like a victim or martyr about it. If I do, perhaps I am not fasting for godly reasons!

On page 11 of the workbook, I read, “Fasting with a right attitude is given to us by God as a way of breaking sin’s power, and freeing us from the control of lust and overeating.”

Yes! Fasting is a GIFT from the Lord to me!

My short little summary of Day 4 on fasting from my journal is:
Fasting can enable sin’s power to be broken and free me from my lust. It can bring freedom, healing, and satisfaction!

Application: What will I do with the idea of a godly fast in my life? Throughout scripture I see God’s people fasting to humble themselves…what will I do to follow God in this? Even Jesus fasted…Am I willing to consider even praying about if/when God would call me to do this? To give up even my “necessary food” for a meal or a day? If I am unwilling even to ask God about this…why? (In fact, as I edit this post at 5:50am California time on Election Day…I wonder a LOT about this…hmm…)

I would welcome hearing from those of you who have learned something specific through godly fasting. We can encourage one another!