The new year is a time for a fresh start. It's a time when many people turn their attention to areas in their lives that need changing.
For a great many of us, we would like to live healthier. A significant portion of the population also resolves to know Jesus more intimately. The Daniel fast is a great way to accomplish both.
You recall that the Old Testament prophet Daniel refused to follow the Babylonian king's mandate that Daniel eat meat that was sacrificed to idols. Daniel and his friends refrained from wine, as well, which left them with food that grew from the ground and simply water to drink. The Lord blessed them abundantly.
Tens of thousands of individuals, as well as a great many churches nationwide, are adopting the Daniel fast. It lasts 21 days, as in Daniel 10, and as with all fasts, really only works when your goal is to please God, not lose weight.
In other words, you restrict your food and beverage intake for a spiritual purpose. This is not a diet where the emphasis is on the food. This is a fast, where the emphasis is on Jesus. Weight loss and better health are simply a by-product, a side-effect, if you will, of this fast.
A fast is a period of time where you deny yourself in order to heighten your relationship with God. In the words of our Savior (Luke 9:23), "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me. "
These are words to live by in everyday life, year-long, not just while fasting, because we must always deny our own fleshly desires to eat too much, which is the sin of gluttony. And we must deny the urge to bypass the Lord and seek comfort from food, instead of the true comfort source, which is Him.
Furthermore, denying ourselves through disciplined eating, regardless of whether we are fasting, is a great witness. How can we expect our teenagers, for example, to deny the temptation to give in to peer pressure to try drugs or alcohol, or how can we expect our spouses to deny the temptation to view pornography if they see us being unwilling to deny the temptation to indulge in eating things we have no business putting into our body, which as God says, is the temple of the Holy Spirit?
So give fasting a try, for good physical health, but more importantly, good spiritual health!