Fasting is not about self-flagellation. That’s what the monk, Silas, did in the Da Vinci Code books.
But we like to self-flagellate, too, whether you call it that or not (and you probably don’t). We like people to know what we’re sacrificing, how we’re suffering. We also like to beat ourselves up unnecessarily.
Women self-flagellate. For example, even the most beautiful woman tends to focus on her features she hates.
Men self-flagellate. They tend to spend the “working” faze of their life not taking care of their health, their diet, their sleep, their relationships, and the list goes on.
Fasting is different. It’s not about starving yourself to punish yourself. Biblical fasting is also not about starving yourself as part of a diet fad.
Fasting is abstaining from something important in your life, so that you can focus more intently on God.
That’s the point. I love the line from the book:
“God wants our hearts.”
And Jesus assumes we’ll want to fast.
“And when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face.” -Jesus
Don’t do it to draw attention to yourself. Do it for the same reason you are intentional about quiet time with Jesus and in His Word. Do it because our relationship with God is more important than any of the things from which we might fast: television, video games, social media, even food.
Okay, story time.
A few months ago, there was a heartbreaking situation going on in my life. It was the kind of thing that kept me up at night and woke me up early. I had a lot of quiet time in prayer during those weeks. Now, I’m not a regular “faster” (you can probably tell), but I did some fasting during that time. I can’t say it led to a miraculous result (definitely no weight loss :), but I did end up with a clarity on how to process the situation I didn’t previously have.
Fasting didn’t accomplish it like some kind of magic wand; it was simply the removal of the barrier of distraction, allowing room for God to work.
So, from what will you fast? For what will you fast?
#redletterchallenge Day 10