Jesus fasted 40 days… praying and being tested by the devil… in the desert, before He started His ministry.
40 hours after being buried His grave was opened and after His resurrection He spent 40 days amongst His people.
Moses spent 40 years in the Desert to be prepared by God to lead the Israelites from captivity to the Promised Land.
Then Moses spent 40 days on the mount Horeb to get the Ten Commandments from God.
It rained 40 days and nights during Noah’s flood.
To just name a few.
So what is it with this opportunity given?
I do not think it is the amount of days we spent… but the intimacy we have with God that determines many things. However 40 days does something for you.
This will be interesting to you, even if you are NOT Christian, so go on reading.
Existing of Body, Soul and Spirit, I believe fasting and praying… but primarily spending quality time with God changes your life.
Teaching physical education at a school and having fasted a couple of times for the named length of time I have noticed the following.
No matter in which area (body, soul or spirit) of life, you can break and make a habit within that time span.
Here some examples
Say you have the habit of eating junk food and only little physical activity, thus picking up weight. You want to loose that habit. So here you go: Make it a 40 day thing.
It will take you (that is to my own experience) round about 2-3 weeks (14-20 days) until your body doesn’t crave for such food every other minute. Your moods will be a challenge to all of the people around you, but to you just as well.
Given the fact that you want to break the habit, you might wanna try a health balanced diet. All self cooked food, sweets only a little bit and only for dessert. Also you wanna take a lengthy walk a day… be it in the park or on the beach or where ever you live.
These first few weeks are no fun. They feel like torture at times but they are worth it. After these 2-3 weeks, your body will have gotten used to not having the stuff it likes all the time. It will also have gotten used to the taste of healthy food – perhaps not liking it that much yet, but getting used to it.
However it will probably take the rest of the 40 days, till your body will actually ask for the extra activity and the healthy nutrition instead of the junk food and will not like the taste of the old stuff any longer.
Once you have gotten this far… it is your choice. Decide to extend the time period for another 40 days…and another …and another until it becomes a habit, or go back to where you were. But remember…you have a choice.
The same as above goes for physical activity, sleep (which requires sleep hygiene) and many more.
TV or INTERNET:
Same goes here. Try fasting from it for 40 days. You will hate the first two of three weeks.
You might say…I need the internet for work. But to be honest…most people only need it to retrieve emails, and that can be done via Outlook and similar programs and can be limited to 3 times a day.
But once you are over the worst stretch, you will actually discover, you have time to do other things you really cherish.
More important than with food still, is that these media have addictive tendencies… meaning you fall back into the habit easily. So keep away from temptations. Decide to find stuff and DO stuff you really like and that get you away from them (like taking a walk).
You’ll be astonished as to how much time you suddenly find for relationships, for reading, for forgotten hobbies and long walks that make you remember the essential stuff in life.
After about 40 days you’ll find that TV/Internet doesn’t give you what it once did. Now you have a choice. Remember the old habit is easy on coming back. But you have a choice.
After almost 5 months without TV in my life, I must say I don’t regret my decision.
The same way goes for any media addiction by the way.
SIN vs. FAITH:
Many Christians nowadays complain that they fall into sin so often and cannot help it.
We might all know how difficult some sinful habits are to break and temptations are to avoid.
(Sexual immorality, substance abuse, taking offense, bitterness, cursing/foul language usage, comparing and jealousy, just to name a few.).
The fact that is often overlooked here is this: What you fill your heart/mind/soul with, it will run over with.
We all live in a secular world. The society we grow up in is hedonistic and most of us will probably come from a democracy.
BUT as Christians we live in a kingdom with GOD as the king of kings. He tells us to NOT be conformed to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2). We look at sensual advertisements; look at media that manages to break all of Gods commandments within 10min of watching television at times, listen to music that tells us how to see things and what is cool, even though it is contrary to the Word of God.
So no wonder, sin has influence on our lives more than we would like it to have.
Try refraining from reading anything but your Bible for the 40 days fast. Decide NOT to watch TV or listen to secular music but instead get up and spend 30 minutes alone with God before you do ANYTHING else in the morning. Decide to proclaim a blessing instead of a curse every time you really get upset about something and decide NOT to share your up setting moments with best friends, colleagues or family before you at least spent 30min sharing with God on it.
You’ll see… your spiritual life will be rebooted and you will stand in amazement of what GOD does within 40 days at the latest.
So to sum it up…
I don’t think there is any magic behind this number… but there certainly is wisdom behind it.
I have tried most of the above named fasting myself…it works.
From some I have refrained after a while again due to laziness and other reasons. That doesn’t say they do not work though. It just shows me, I need to go for a check up every once and again and let GOD influence my life anew.
I pray GOD will bless you and help you break any ungodly habit and draw you near!