What is fasting, and why do we do it?
Now, if you’re like me, you probably don’t know much about fasting except for that you’re supposed to do it, and it will bring you closer to God. And if you’re like me, then you’re probably also wondering how fasting and not eating will bring you closer to God, especially if you’re someone who gets hangry (hungry and angry). There’s more to fasting than not eating. The process as a whole is a spiritual challenge that will allow you to rely on God in your weakest moments.
What exactly is fasting? Fasting is an abstinence from food or a limiting of one’s food, especially when voluntary and as a religious observance, according to Dictionary.com. Why do we fast? We don’t just fast because someone tells us to do so. We fast because of the great benefits associated with it. Although the Bible does not give us a direct command to fast, it states that “…man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4 NIV). This is not to be taken literally. Metaphorically speaking, it means that we are able to survive based on the Word of God in addition to the other basic necessities of life. Food, water, and shelter alone will not give us what we need to get through life. God’s love and Word are what will sustain us whether we are in abundance of or lacking life’s necessities.
What happens to us when we fast? Other than hunger pains, some advantages come along with fasting. When we fast, we humble ourselves. Psalms 35:13 (NIV) states that “yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting.” We recently learned from Bishop Rosie that we should humble ourselves so that God can exalt us. And we humble ourselves by casting our cares to God (1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV). Therefore, do not worry about being hungry, don’t worry about whether you can do it, and do not worry about all of your other troubles. When you fast, you are giving all your cares to God and relying on your faith and God’s Word to care for you.
What should we do when we fast? We should pray. Of course, the Bible tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), which means that we should pray all the time. But you should especially pray when fasting. Fasting is a time when you place all focus on God, and unanswered prayers may finally come to fruition. Ezra 8:23 (NIV) says, “So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.” God is waiting on you to fast so He can answer your prayers. God will be your confidante during your fast, so talk to Him as much as you can. In the end, you will see that it was all worth it (Matthew 6:16-18 NIV).
Contributor: K. Wyatt