The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of BCNN1. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).
Fasting has become more widely practiced in both Christian and secular communities, but as culture begins to emphasize the health benefits of fasting rather than the spiritual benefits, we need to be reminded of God’s design for this spiritual discipline. We asked Stephen Myers, Ministry Development Director for Medi-Share, to take a closer look at what the Bible says about fasting and how we should use it to deepen our relationships with God.
I have never had an extended period of time when food was not available to me, including the time in college that I went hiking along the Blue Ridge Parkway with a few friends.
We planned on a 2 to 3-mile circuit for an easy, early afternoon hike. However, we ended up on a 14-mile loop with 4,000 feet in elevation gain and absolutely no supplies except our water bottles and headlamps.
I understand that many people have endured worse, but for college students that slept through breakfast, skipped lunch, and were expecting to get done in time for an early dinner it seemed like every switchback and obstacle was a painstaking reminder of our need of food for strength. Realistically, we were never really in any danger or in need of assistance, just experiencing a higher than normal level of discomfort.
The practice of fasting today has become more widespread and recognized for the health benefits. Practices like intermittent fasting, which for some people is a fancy way of saying you skipped a meal, have become more common.
What about the practice of fasting that is mentioned in the Bible? What, exactly, is that all about?
Throughout the Old and New Testaments, you will find several references to fasting, and with those references are several different reasons that fasting occurred.
- Repentance – Joel 2:12-13, Psalm 69:10
- Help with decision-making and discernment — Acts 13:2, Acts 14:23
- Mourning — 2 Samuel 1:12, Nehemiah 1:4, Psalm 35:13-14, 2 Samuel 12:15-17
- Reliance upon God — Ezra 8:21-23
- Fasting was observed by Jesus when the Spirit led him into the wilderness for 40 days – Matthew 4:1-2, Luke 4:24
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Medi-Share