“In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled.” Daniel 10: 2, 3
There are two references to fasting in the biblical book of Daniel from which the “Daniel Fast” is drawn. Daniel, chapter 1, describes how Daniel and his 3 friends ate only vegetables and drank only water. At the end of a 10-day trial period, Daniel and his friends appeared healthier than their peers who ate the rich foods from the royal table. In Daniel, chapter 10, Daniel fasts again, abstaining from “pleasant food,” meat, and wine.
So this is the second year I’m doing this 21 day fast of this type. The church I attend encourages it as a congregation for some communal purposes, but also any individual ones that may surface. Although it’s difficult, I have enjoyed it because I feel that I do need discipline, to be able to see food in a more healthy way of actual sustenance as well as use the “denying the flesh” as a way of becoming spiritually stronger. Here is an abbreviated excerpt I read about the fast:
The Body – Certainly our bodies are effected as our diet is changed, for some in very dramatic ways, during the Daniel Fast. Many men and women experience detoxing from caffeine, chemicals and sugar. Most people lose weight during the Daniel Fast. And many report healings from diabetes, allergies, arthritis and cancer.
The Soul – Frequently referred to as “the flesh” in the Bible, the soul is also greatly impacted during the Daniel Fast. The soul is the seat of our emotions, intellect, personality and will. It is in the “soulish realm” where we experience cravings, frustration, anger . . . and even happiness. During the Daniel Fast, your soul may very well rebel against the dramatic change in your diet. Experiencing and winning this battle over the flesh is often one of the most powerful lessons of the Daniel Fast.
The Spirit – Our spirit is that born-again part of us that surrenders to God and then abides with the Father and the Son. Our spirit is filled with the Holy Spirit when we yield to Him. During the Daniel Fast, we want to put our spirit in charge of the other two parts of us. When our flesh is acting out with a craving, we take control of it with our spirit (just as a parent takes control of a rebellious child).
And like all good things, there is always a way to capitalize on it. Since I’ve heard of the fast, I’ve seen websites, food lists, recipe books, etc. One of the things that stands out to me is that even though we say we don’t like rules or being told what to do, it’s such a contrast that I see people want to get information from leaders on what we can eat, what disqualifies, what’s unacceptable, etc. If it’s a fast, it should be personal, right? And it should be spirit driven which means it could be different for some than others. And it’s all about the intent and heart with how it’s done. If someone is just substituting dairy with soy and meat with tofu, than they’re Vegan, not on the Daniel’s Fast.
So in addition to the fast itself, I have found it an interesting study in human behavior, even my own. I’ve seen how difficult it is, how emotional food can be at times and how hard breaking bad habits can be. I too have been one of those who wonders, “is this okay” or “if Daniel had chips and salsa, would he have eaten it?”
It’s just some interesting food for thought…pun intended. So wish me well on day one of twenty-one!