WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER A FINANCIAL FAST?
Have you ever participated in a financial fast before? Has the idea intrigued you? Or did it scare you away?
As you might guess, a financial fast involves not spending money, but it doesn’t have to mean you stop spending all your money at one time.
Fasting, while popular for dieting, has a deeper meaning for Christians. Secular fasting relies on our own will power to deny ourselves something – like food, with the promise of better health. And while better health is a benefit, for Christians, any fasting relies on the power of God to strengthen us, make us introspective and reveal, through the Holy Spirit, areas of growth we need to improve in for us to live a better life.
Likewise, financial-fasting in the Christian sense means to let go of trouble spending areas and to open yourself to the voice of the Holy Spirit who will guide you into wise stewardship. That’s right, you will learn to submit to the voice of the Lord the next time you go to buy something you shouldn’t by practicing financial-fasting (John 14:6).
So, how does one financial fast? For the month of August, you can choose to stop spending money in “trouble” areas like restaurants, groceries, or clothing, or you could choose to go all out and impose a total shopping ban on yourself, aside from necessities.
If you’re on the fence about whether you want to participate in a financial-fast, know that there are a lot of benefits you can reap by participating in one.
1) Financial Fasts Save You Money
Obviously, the clearest benefit to challenging yourself not to spend money is that you’ll be saving it!
However, you need to make sure you’re taking action with the money you’ve saved. It’s one thing to stop spending $3 every day at a coffee shop, but if you spend it on a snack at the vending machine at work instead, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
2) Financial Fasts Uncover Spending Triggers
I think the biggest benefit to financial fasts is that you’ll likely figure out exactly why you have the spending problem you do. You’ll be able to pinpoint where your lack is stemming from and get a deliverance from the sinful behaviors that cause it.
For example, maybe entertainment expenses are super high for you, and you’re trying to cut back on that by finding fun, free alternatives. It’s during a financial-fast where every time you’re tempted to spend on entertainment, you’ll intentionally open yourself up to the Holy Spirit and hear Him tell you “no, not while the financial-fast is going on.” At the same time, you might prayerfully consider why you feel the urge to spend. Is it because your friends are going out, and it’s a good way to spend time with them? Are you afraid you’ll miss out on something someone else has?
In any situation, you should figure out what action you need to take to develop better spending habits. Perhaps time with friends is something you simply value enough to spend money on, but you realize you prefer an intimate potluck dinner as opposed to going to a Beyoncé concert! Or maybe you’ll come to realize that staying in occasionally isn’t as bad as you thought.
3) Financial Fasts Force You to Use What You Have
I find this to be very true when it comes to groceries, stuff that gets sent to the garage/attic/shed/closet, and clothes.
I hate grocery shopping. I really do, that’s why Lady Terri does it most of the time. Okay, ALL the time!
Instead of going to the grocery store every other day, consider what kind of meals you can string together from what you already have so you can go grocery shopping next week instead. You might be surprised at what you can do with all the food you have when you’re desperate!
On the “stuff” front, I’m willing to bet many of us have bought something we already had, at least once, because we either forgot about it or couldn’t find it. It’s the worse feeling to come home and then magically find what you need (and just bought) hours later. Clothes? Forget it. You probably have a closet and drawer full of clothes. So, don’t buy anymore. Besides, we dress casual at Impact Church anyway, so save your Sunday best clothes for the traditional Baptist church you might visit with a friend.
In all these cases, submitting yourself to an August shopping ban means you need to get creative and resourceful. You’ll have to use what you already have in your home (or closet) to “survive”.
4) Financial Fasts Make Values Clearer
If you make the decision to do a total financial fast and critically evaluate your spending to see which areas you struggle with, you’ll probably get clearer on what you value in life.
There are so many things we spend money on without question because it’s simply an automatic behavior. A friend of mine once told me a coworker of theirs stopped at McDonald’s every day for the same exact breakfast. They never skipped a day. It was just their routine. Well, participating in a financial-fast will definitely disrupt your normal routine, so much so that you’ll have to question your spending decisions. That’s not a bad thing, because you’ll be looking deeper into what makes you happy.
Maybe you’ll conclude that spending money on coffee, clothes, makeup, etc. doesn’t actually bring you the happiness you thought it did. Instead of continuing to spend money in these areas, you should start to focus your spending on your values so that you’re spending money on things that will make you happy.
A Financial Fast is a Great Way to Jumpstart Your Pathway To Prosperity
Some people freak out at the thought of going a month without grocery shopping, meanwhile, I’ve seen many people complete that financial-fast successfully. It’s all about getting prepared beforehand.
You shouldn’t make the decision to do a financial-fast on a whim. Prayerfully consider the implications, your limits, and other life circumstances.
No matter what you decide, I think every Christian should do a financial-fast in some area of their financial life at least once a year. It’s very revelatory and empowering, and if done correctly, will prove useful for years to come. At the very least, you’ll have the confidence to know you can do it after going through it once and live in the exceedingly abundant life Jesus intended for you (Ephesians 3:20-21).
Most importantly, the money you free up can be used to take some extraordinary wealth-building steps.
By combining daily prayer for your finances for 21-days you will develop a heart for stewardship and open yourself to really manifest the abundance of the Spirit-filled lifestyle.
I can’t wait to see what God does for us in this season!
Bishop-Designate De’Andre Salter