“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full” (Matthew 6:16, NASB).
The other day my Pastor pointed out something in the above verse that I had never noticed before. Jesus, who is speaking, says Whenever you fast. He didn’t say if you fast, but when. It is clear that Jesus expected His disciples to fast and to do so in a way unlike hypocrites.
That point has had me thinking about the issue of fasting for the last couple of weeks. As a Type II Diabetic, fasting presents a unique challenge for me, but knowing that Jesus expects me to do it adds a new dimension to the subject. Of course, it’s easy to demonstrate from the rest of Scripture that Jesus wouldn’t expect someone to endanger their health for the sake of fasting. Romans 12:1 urges Christians to “… to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”
So here is the question, How does a Christian diagnosed with Type II Diabetes observe Christ’s instructions to fast while not neglecting their health?
Having done a little reading and incorporating some practices into my own fasting, I thought I would offer some suggestions:
- Talk to your doctor: A conversation with your doctor before you attempt a fast of any duration is the single best piece of advice you could follow. Your doctor can offer suggestions on how to do it safely.
- Tend to your diabetes routinely: Fasts are less of an issue for diabetics if their blood sugar is controlled. Follow your doctor’s orders, Exercise, take your medicine, and tend to your diet. The healthier you are the better prepared you’ll be to fast. An uncontrolled diabetic probably shouldn’t fast at all until their sugar is under control.
- During your fast, check your blood sugar frequently: It goes without saying that fasting is going to impact your blood sugar. If you discontinue your medication for the duration of the fast, your sugar will respond accordingly. While you might expect your blood sugar to drop, you may be surprised. Mine actually rises slightly throughout a fast. Experts suggest that you end the fast promptly if your blood sugar drops below 75 or above 300.
- Drink plenty of fluids: Dehydration is a problem for diabetics. Even during fasting, you should stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids.
- When you break your fast, use common sense: When most people end a fast, they gorge themselves with a large, unhealthy meal. This can be bad for diabetics and could throw your sugar out of whack for a few days. When you break your fast, eat a fairly healthy mean and watch your carb intake. Slowly ease yourself back into your regular diet and continue testing your blood sugar frequently into things are back to normal.
These are some of the things I put into practice when considering a fast of any duration. I hope they are of assistance to you.