Fasting. The dictionary describes fasting as “abstaining from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance.”
What even is that?!
Why should I, or would I want to, abstain from food as a religious observance? For what purpose would I willingly choose to go without my grub? Why are we encouraging our Everyday Champions communities to participate in a season of fasting?
All of these are valid and appropriate questions! In these blogs we will be looking to unpack the purpose and potential of fasting, whilst getting rid of some of the ‘religiousness’ of it! We want you to participate because you were inspired by the potential of fasting, not because of a sense of religious duty.
I think many people don’t fast, or miss the point of fasting, because of an incorrect belief about what fasting actually is. After all, right believing leads to right living. So in this post I want to flip things around and actually look at what fasting isn’t and, as we do, hopefully eradicate some wrong beliefs about it.
Firstly, fasting is not a crash diet! I’m sorry to inform you, but fasting is not the next fad diet to appear in OK! Magazine. Whilst fasting may make you shed a pound, it is not the purpose of it.
Secondly, fasting is not for fanatics. Contrary to what some believe, you do not have to graduate from a number of christian classes to qualify for a fast. Fasting is a principle for any and every christian. Whether you’ve been a christian a day, a week or 20 years, fasting is for you.
Thirdly, fasting is not to gain acceptance. There is nothing that you or I can do to make God want and love us any more than he does right now. The death and resurrection of Jesus means that you are accepted, appreciated, adored. It means that you now live from His achievement and affirmation, not for it. Thankfully, the level of fasting skill you possess (or lack!) has no bearing on how God sees you, that’s already secured because of Jesus.
Finally, fasting is not twisting God’s arm. When my son wants a kinder egg he really loves to let me know how much he wants it! He will whinge and whine, repeating himself over and over, desperately trying to get me to respond to his request. This is not what fasting is. Fasting is not an attempt to get God to respond to us, but more an attempt at us responding to God. More on this in another post.
I hope that this has got rid of some of the wrong thoughts that I’m sure most of us have had at some point regarding fasting. Now that we know what fasting isn’t, we can begin to look at what it is and why we should do it!