“The best of all medicines are resting and fasting.”
― Benjamin Franklin
The Bible talks about:
- a troubled mind (2 Kings 6:11)
- a depraved mind (1 Timothy 6:5)
- a sinful mind (Romans 8:7 NIV)
- a dull mind (2 Corinthians 3:14 NIV)
- a blinded mind (2 Corinthians 4:4
- a corrupt mind (2 Timothy 3:8)
No doubt our minds are broken. The prophet Jeremiah says in chapter 17, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” We have an amazing ability to deceive ourselves. We do it all the time.
In Matthew 4:11 we have the story of Jesus’ fast, preparation, and temptation in the desert. As he is nearing the end and preparing to return from his journey in the wilderness, the devil appears and tempts Jesus. It’s interesting to note that Satan uses food as a temptation . . . he did this before in the Garden of Eden. Hunger and loneliness are powerful realities – they make us vulnerable. Satan takes advantage of those vulnerabilities. He tempts Christ, yet Christ refuses. Despite being tempted by scripture, Christ rebuffs the Devil with his knowledge of the Word acknowledging that there are things more important than his physical hunger.
Christ’s mind is set on God, and his obedience. His grumbling discomfort will not deter him. St. Irenaeus points out, it is here that Jesus is in effect reversing the Fall by giving the answer Adam and Eve ought to have given: “Thus the corruption of man, which happened in paradise by both Adam and Eve eating, was done away with by his lack of food in this world” (A Year with the Church Fathers). Where Adam and Eve chose to decide on their own knowledge of what was good and evil, Jesus submits to allow God to give him the knowledge of good and evil.
As we come into the Lenten season, whether we participate in the Daniel Fast or choose to abstain in some other way – it is necessary for us to set our mind on the knowledge and goodness of God’s guidance and direction. Our discipline does not make us good, but places us in a posture that allows us to more easily access the teaching of God.
For those who choose to participate in the Daniel Fast, not only will you benefit from that relationship, but you may also benefit mentally in the following ways:
- Increased autophagy – self-devouring – the body’s process of getting damaged or unhealthy parts of our bodies
- Decrease in neurodegenerative disorders from the increase in ketones – bodies way of supplanting glucose
- Memory cognition and learning
- Better sleep
- Depression and anxiety levels will fall – Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF): A protein that is increased during fasting. BDNF interacts with several neurons in parts of the brain that are associated with memory, learning and cognition.
- Higher BDNF lowers depression and chronic pain
- Stroke – Not only does fasting reduce the risk of stroke, it also reduces post-stroke brain damage.
- Increased will-power
If you’re participating in the Daniel Fast, please let us know so we can help to encourage you and share resources with you. Be sure to join the private Facebook Group where we will also be inviting those participating to share recipes, inspiration, and more.
May you prepare your body, heart, mind, and soul as you approach Lent, to walk with God in communion growing in the knowledge of his goodness in your life, and in the world.