Last week on the “You Can Overcome” show, host Gwen Shamblin delved into a spiritual discipline familiar to Remnant Fellowship members but perhaps not as familiar to the public at large…that is the practice of fasting. There are numerous references to fasting throughout Scripture…and many stories of the Biblical “greats” petitioning God through prayer and fasting including King David, Daniel, Queen Esther, John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Gwen pointed out that Jesus Christ endorsed the practice of fasting by even giving direction as to how one should conduct themselves during a fast:
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:16, 17)
So if fasting is an ancient practice dating even before the time of Christ, what exactly are the physical and spiritual benefits? How long should a fast be and then how do you know when to end it? All of these questions were discussed and addressed by Gwen Shamblin and her guests on this week’s “You Can Overcome” TV show, as the two guests shared their experiences of recent extended fasts.
At the beginning of the show, however, four men who had recently fasted for God humbly took the stage, making the case that fasting is certainly not just for women. Remnant Fellowship members and Weigh Down participants, John Radebaugh, Scott Thissen, Jonathan Barker, and Saul Sadler all testified to how a time of denial of food combined with a more diligent pursuit of God and personal introspection resulted in profound physical and spiritual benefits…from needed weight loss to a renewed focus more clearly on God. Although the length of their fasts varied greatly—from one day to a few weeks— all testified that it was a life changing experience that took their relationship with God to a deeper level, impacting all aspects of their lives.
The main guests on the show were Jane Dubois and Lisa Henry, both fasting for a remarkable period of over 25 days. Each woman gave her own testimony on how they had grown in their relationship with God during their extended fast, as well as broke through personal weight loss plateaus. Jayne Dubois, who fasted for 26 days and lost an average of 1 pound per day, explained how after watching Season 8/Episode 2 of the “You Can Overcome” show, felt a deep conviction and motivation to fast for an extended period of time. Although she had experienced many changes and transformations in her life by putting God’s will into practice, including losing over 100 pounds of excess weight, she knew there was more to go both physically and spiritually. “God showed me I had become complacent in my relationship with Him,” said Jane. She knew it was time to go “all in” and follow Christ 100% with her heart, soul, mind and strength. “Fasting brought clarity of mind…my relationship with God grew deeper than I could’ve ever imagined,” Jayne expressed. She further explained that the fast was about connecting with God, not just losing weight, and how her relationship with God is now everything.
Also led to fast for an extensive time period, Lisa Henry fasted for a total of 28 days and also lost an average of one pound per day. She too felt that her heart and mind had toyed with food idolatry for far too long and that it was time to put an end to it. “If I did not go all in, it was going to be a spiritual death,” was how she honestly described a pinnacle decision making moment. She knew that the change in heart needed to start with sincere repentance. Knowing that she could simply fast physically on her own without having a true turning away from idolatry through repenting, the fast would not be blessed. Desperate to prove her love to God and get every area in her life under His authority, Lisa knew repentance was critical as she felt like God was calling her to an extended fast of 28 days. She knew God’s word about not drawing attention to the fact that she was fasting, and so she shared her conviction only initially with her husband.
Throughout the fast, Lisa grew deeper in her relationship with God as she looked intently into His Word and into her own heart.
Throughout the conversation with guests, Gwen Shamblin gave much insight through the Scriptures about the spiritual benefits of fasting and explained that fasts are personal between God and the individual. As a Registered Dietician, with a masters degree in nutrition, as well as a former University professor of foods and nutrition for five years…not to mention a New York Times best-selling author of “The Weigh Down Diet,” Gwen also spoke authoritatively on the physical benefits of fasting, specifically weight loss. One may wonder how a person feels during such an extended fast? Tired? Unable to function? Quite the contrary, Jayne and Lisa described how God completely gave them the strength they needed during their time of fasting, as they both completely had the ability to continue to take care of their families, work, attend social functions and participate in Church services.
Even though both experienced a breakthrough with their weight loss plateaus and incredible answered prayers, ultimately Jayne and Lisa express how they experienced greater blessings…
Needless to say, this inspiring and fascinating episode of the “You Can Overcome” show prompted many viewers to start a fast themselves. If you are considering a fast and are in need of encouragement…or just simply wanting more information on fasting, watch any of below following episodes of the “You Can Overcome” show. The “You Can Overcome” show hosted by Gwen Shamblin is on every Wednesday at 6:20pm CST on www.RemnantFellowship.tv and there is a library of shows on a wide range of topics from weight loss to parenting to marriage currently available for viewing.