So I spent some time thinking about fasting a little bit after I had an interesting conversation with a colleague today. I asked her, "If you could do whatever, what would you be doing?" The cliff note version is that she would travel all over the world and eat at all the best restaurants in the world, not the "touristy" ones, but the real good ones, the treasures hidden away, maybe pay over $100 a plate. It got me thinking why we don't talk about fasting much. Here in America, most of us have access to food, lots and lots of food. Cheap food, healthy food, unhealthy food, food food food. We get hungry, we eat, we are full, we still eat because we can. For some its a hobby. For other's its a crutch. For some it means family for others it means the Devil. We often don't go with out, and once we feel a little rumble in the tummy, we go running around the kitchen or stop at a drive through. So the idea of fasting can be very scary, especially if you are afraid to be a little hungry. I think its interesting how influenced and manipulated we are by food.
Obviously we have to eat and God provides for his people. I am not saying food is bad or evil or that we should all be anorexic. What I want to say is that as Christ followers, we should strive to live more by the Spirit, the food Jesus talks about when the Disciples offer him food when he talks with the woman at the well, than by our natural hungers and cravings. Can I with hold my own satisfaction for the sake of another? Can I live a life where I trust more on living by God's spirit than by hugging my self with a twinkie?
I look around and see people's lives consumed with consumption and honestly its killing them. On the other hand, I have students that go a whole day with out eating much. They don't eat breakfast and lunch is meager at best. Everyday they deal with hunger and have lived to deal with it. It affects their ability to learn and pay attention. So starving isn't the answer either. But can we learn to deny or delay self satisfaction in order to empty ourselves, so that Christ can flow out of us?
Fasting is mentioned quite a bit in the old testament and some in the new testament. When Christ talks about casting out demons, to pray and fast. I think we should talk about it more and practice it more as Christians, even though it is counter culture.
Christ is our model, who demonstrated complete submission to God, even through beatings and ultimately death. Can we not submit our bodies, hungers, and cravings to our Lord and Savior?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject.