“We believe that we can change the things around us in accordance with our desires—we believe it because otherwise we can see no favorable outcome. We do not think of the outcome which generally comes to pass and is also favorable: we do not succeed in changing things in accordance with our desires, but gradually our desires change. The situation that we hoped to change because it was intolerable becomes unimportant to us. We have failed to surmount the obstacle, as we were absolutely determined to do, but life has taken us round it, led us beyond it, and then if we turn round to gaze into the distance of the past, we can barely see it, so imperceptible has it become.”
~ Marcel Proust: In Search of Lost Time
In a culture where fast food restaurants dominate the landscape, fasting seems out of place, out of step with the times. The marketing menu fed to us today has convinced us that if we do not have three square meals each and every day (with snacks in between) we are on the verge of starvation.
Scripture has so much to say about fasting that we would do well to look seriously at this ancient practice. The list of biblical ‘biggies’ who fasted: Moses, David, Elijah, Esther, Daniel, Anna, Paul, Jesus… many of the great Christians throughout church history fasted: Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards…
Fasting is not an exclusively Christian Discipline. Plato, Socrates and Aristotle all fasted. Even Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, believed in fasting. More than any other single Christian Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. We cover up what is inside us with food and other comforts, but, while fasting, what is beneath will surface. If pride controls us, it will be revealed. David said, “I humbled my soul with fasting” (Psalm 69:10).
Fasting helps us keep our balance in life. How easily we begin to allow nonessentials to take precedence in our lives. “All things are allowed for me, but I will not be enslaved by anything” (1 Cor. 6:12). Outwardly you will be performing the regular duties of your day, but inwardly you will be in prayer.
Fasting can bring breakthroughs in your spiritual journey that could never be had in any other way. Values of fasting include: increased effectiveness in prayer, guidance in decisions, improved focus, answers, greater sense of well-being, and the list goes on.
~ Food for Thought: Lent
Jason E. Royle
Welcome to my blog. I'm an open-minded theologian committed to Christ-like compassion & understanding.
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