Day 12, Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Fasting is part of almost all religions in all parts of the world. So, what makes Christian believers’ fasting any different from others? Usually fasting involves going without food for a certain period. Now, food is one of the greatest blessings we receive from God, but it may also become one of the most common hindrances between God and us. Lack of discipline may easily lead us to be guilty of the sin of gluttony. Apostle Paul talked about some people whose belly had become their god (see Philippians 3:19). In fact, anything that takes the place of God in our lives may become our idol. Fasting aids us in overcoming gluttony and strengthening our dependence on God. By fasting we regain control over our most basic need—food—by surrendering it to God so that He
may help us place it in its rightful place.
However, Christian fasting is different from other fasting in that it’s not just about going without food, especially during the Lent. Rather, fasting in the Bible is associated with repentance. For example, read passages like: Leviticus 16:29-34; Numbers 29:7-11; I Samuel 7:6; Joel 1:14, and Jonah 3: 5-9. These biblical cases remind us that fasting that’s not accompanied by genuine penitence over our sins and an honest readiness to mend our ways is not of much spiritual value. Unlike other religions, Christian fasting is not a way of self-punishment. The act of denying us food or drink alone does not make us holy unless there is remorse over sin in our lives and seeking God’s forgiveness. The Bible doesn’t teach that you have to fast in order to be saved. God in Christ Jesus has already completed the work of our salvation. So, God does not want us to hate or destroy our bodies. He loves us, we are precious in His eyes; therefore, God wants the best for us. He will never be pleased with any self-inflicted pain to our bodies. In fact, the Bible says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? (I Corinthians 6:19). Therefore, God desires to purge His temple, that is, our souls and bodies, so that they become more suitable to worship the living God. Thus, let us introspect of our lives along with our fasting that we may benefit most from our fast this Lent. If we have no wish to repent and change after Easter, let us stop our Lenten fasting today. I promise God will not be angry with us! He desires mercy and honesty. Amen