Amy texted me the other day an article that talked about fasting negativity. When I first saw it, I was thinking it was some hippy positivity mojo thing, but upon reading it I was really challenged.
I’ll link it here so you can read the whole thing if you want, but I want to touch on some of the principles the author does and tell you how doing this has affected my daily life!
Since I was little I remember hearing about such a thing as fasts; from food fasts, to social media fasts, and lent, it’s not an uncommon concept having grown up in a Christian household. But I never really understood what it meant until I was in college. And since then, I’ve only done it once or twice. I remember “fasting” from Facebook in high school, which I announced to everyone, but I didn’t replace that time I would spend on Facebook with Jesus. It was more of a mental cleanse, so to speak. But at the heart of fasting is something so beautiful and Scriptural!
Donald Whitney, a seminary professor and author, described fasting as follows: “Fasting is a God-ordained expression of our belief that we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8) – so good that there are times we’re satisfied to feast on Him instead of the food that the Lord made to sustain us. Fasting is a temporary, physical demonstration that you believe the eternal, spiritual reality of the gospel, that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).”
Today, fasting is less common, but still a calling on the Christian life when in deep spiritual longings or for biblical purposes. I have more often seen it in fasting things other than food, which I think can be important too! When we choose to “give up” for a time something that takes so much of our time, and replace it with prayer, worship, scripture, etc, God honors that.
So when I read this article on a negativity fast, I immediately felt like it’s something I should do. Not because I consider myself to be a negative Nancy or a Debbie downer, but because the Word calls us to use uplifting words, not be anxious, rejoice in all things; it talks about the power of the tongue, guarding our hearts, and so many other things that relate back to negativity being thrown out.
We can’t rejoice always (1 Thess. 5:16) if we are saying something negative about a coworker or boss; we can’t guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) from hateful things when we are thinking hateful things about people or circumstances; if we are thinking negative thoughts or speaking negative things, we aren’t thinking about true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy things (Phil. 4:8).
So by fasting negativity, we are replacing all the time we spend with negativity (you’ll be surprised how much there is too!) with truths of God’s Word, prayer, and praise. We can’t just give up negativity without replacing it with God’s truths and ultimately God’s heart. The heart of this fast is to speak truth over people we think negatively about, pray for people we think or speak negatively about, praise God for His goodness when our circumstances seem negative, and in the end turning towards the Father when the negativity of the world is overwhelming.
Our flesh gravitates naturally towards negativity, but Holy Spirit in us is speaking life as we choose to listen. Amy and I decided to memorize Scriptures as they came to us during this fast that encourage positivity. Not the surface level positivity/good vibes, but the joy that comes from who God is in us, lasting joy. Here are a few we’ve come up with:
“Stop imitating the ideals and opinions of the culture around you, but be inwardly transformed by the Holy Spirit through a total reformation of how you think. This will empower you to discern God’s will as you live a beautiful life, satisfying and perfect in his eyes.”
Romans 12:2 TPT
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Philippians 4:8 NIV
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,”
James 1:19 NIV
“We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,”
2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.”
Proverbs 4:23 ESV
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
We encourage you to pray about fasting from negativity as well! We are doing a month as the original article recommended, but you can do as long or as short as you feel led. Our prayer is that you, like us, realize how powerful negativity can be, but how much more powerful the Truths of God’s Word are in our lives.