Congratulations! You made it! You’re on the very last day of your fast! Did you ever think it would go by so quickly?!
I’m proud of you for persevering to the end. I’ve received a few messages from fasters who struggled and contemplated throwing in the towel. But God reminded them this is a marathon, not a sprint; if you fall, you can get back up and run to the finish line. And now…here you are! A few hours away from the finish line! Let’s finish well!
How to End Your Fast Physically
If you’ve been on a full fast for twenty-one days, be careful how you reintroduce food to your system. Most people who are otherwise healthy should be able to return to normal eating within one week of a twenty-one day fast.
There is a period of adjustment, though. This is because two things have happened to the digestive system during a prolonged fast.
- The stomach has been slowly shrinking. By the end of the fast, the stomach’s capacity for food is nothing like it was at the beginning. Even the smallest amount of food can make you feel full.
- The organs in the body that are usually involved with assimilating food have taken a rest. You could think of it as if the organs have gone into a kind of sleep which became deeper as the fast was extended.
Therefore, when you break your fast, be careful:
- How much you eat
- What you eat
- How you eat it
Give your stomach time to return to normal size and the digestive organs time to “wake up” fully.
When breaking a fast, some foods are more suitable than others. A fast of great length is best broken with fruit or vegetable juices, if possible freshly squeezed or juiced. Some consider citrus fruits to be the best. However, if you live where citrus fruits are imported, this is not the best option as they’re often picked unripe and the juice can be too acidic. Watermelon juice is excellent, as is tomato, grape or apple juice.
Start with a small quantity, diluted if necessary. Drink it every two to three hours the first day. Increase the quantity gradually and you’ll soon be able to take the fruit itself. At this point, milk can be taken. Milk in the form of yogurt taken with fruit would be beneficial.
Gradually return to regular eating with several small snacks during the first few days. Start with a little soup and fresh fruit such as watermelon and cantaloupe. Advance to a few tablespoons of solid foods such as raw fruits and vegetables or a raw salad and baked potato.
Fresh salad (no dressing), vegetable soups (no fat), and cooked vegetables may be included at this point, always starting with a small amount of anything new and gradually increasing.
Next, you could include a little toasted bread with a small slice of butter, but no cakes, pastries or cookies. Starchy foods are not good at this stage. Introduce protein first in the form of cheese or eggs (or Greek yogurt), with fish and meat last of all.
Eat slowly; chew thoroughly. Chew your food well so that it is reduced to liquid before swallowing. When you begin to feel full, stop eating.
Rest as much as you can during the period of reintroducing food to your system. It will let your body concentrate on digestion and assimilation. Try not to become too active too soon.
How to End Your Fast Spiritually
Although you can relax physically, do not relax spiritually! You can’t afford to. Your enemy, the devil, prowls like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8-9). You must remain alert and vigilant. The “thief” will be on the prowl to steal the increased intimacy with Christ you’ve gained during your fast.
No doubt, as you’ve fasted and subjected your flesh to the Spirit, your spiritual ears have become more alert to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Consequently, you’re now far more sensitive to even the smallest disobedience and sin in your life…maybe even things you used to do on a daily basis that grieved Him and quenched His presence. Satan will now try to get you to cater to your flesh once again. He’ll try to clog your spiritual hearing and get you back into areas of disobedience and unyieldedness. Oh it will be subtle alright. It won’t even seem like it’s happening. After all, eating returns to normal…why not everything else? Be careful! Be alert! Be intentional! Be disciplined, fellow soldier. Stay disciplined in your prayer time and pursuit of God. Stay disciplined in your submission and quick obedience to the Lord.
How Do You Plan to Keep Fasting a Part of Your Lifestyle?
I’m so glad that you joined Pursuit 21 and engaged in the life-changing principle of fasting! Please note, though, that a single fast is not a spiritual cure-all. Just as we need fresh infillings of the Holy spirit daily, we also need fresh times of fasting. Consider a 24-hour fast each week or fasting the first two days of the month. I encourage you to pray about it today and make a commitment as to how you plan to keep fasting a part of your lifestyle. It will be hard to make this decision once you get back into old routines of eating. Pray about it now, while the spiritual benefits of fasting are fresh on your mind and in your spirit. When God leads you as to what your regular fasting commitment should be, put it on your calendar — just as you would schedule a meeting for work, a spouse’s anniversary, or ladies, your hair appointment. When it’s on your calendar, it’s commitment to be kept, not a contingency that can be cancelled.
If You Feel You Failed
It takes time to build your fasting muscles. If you failed to make it through this first fast, do not be discouraged! You may have simply gotten over zealous and bitten off more than you could chew in terms of choosing too extreme of a fast for your first time out. (Try beginning with a partial fast or Daniel fast. Then on your next fast, go on a full fast for one day. Then possibly fast for three days on your fast after that. God will lead you and enable you to succeed. Don’t give up!) Or you may need to strengthen your resolve. As soon as possible, undertake another fast until you do succeed. Even if it is just for one day — or one week. God will honor you for your faithfulness.
Are you glad that you fasted? If so, why? What positive benefits have you already experienced? I would love for you to share about your experience. (Feel free to share in the comments or the fasting testimony page). I realize that not all effects of a fast will be immediate. Many benefits will be experienced all year long this year, next year, and the years to come. However, if your fasts are anything like mine, something in the spirit has already changed as a result of your fast. Something in the natural man broke. And for some people, God has already given answers to prayer!
Your fasting testimony will encourage me, but more importantly, it will give glory to God and encourage others in their own seasons of fasting and prayer.
Question: How do you plan to keep fasting a part of your lifestyle this year?
FROM THE FASTING ARCHIVES:
- Fasting Day 21: Why Does God Reward Fasting?
- Fasting Day 21: Returning in Power, Part 6
- Returning in Power Audio Message
- Fasting Day 21: Shout!
- Shout Audio Message
- Fasting Day 21: Kings and Priests