“Fasting” isn’t usually a word that conjours up ideas of blessing. In western cultures, it’s more associated with hair shirts, self-flagellation, and shaved heads. In the Protestant church, we look at it more as a tool to refocus. But it’s a whole lot more than that.
While “fasting” from facebook, a cell phone, etc., might be useful to an extent, it’s the voluntary abstention from food (either totally, or in usual quantities) that Scripture presents as the norm. That denial of a visceral need that must be fulfilled for life does something that other abstentions don’t. Even if you do seem addicted to your phone, you would not be dead by Christmas if someone took it away. It is fasting from food for a limited, particular time (24 hours, skip-a-meal, etc.) that reveals what a gift it is to our health as Christians. Fasting isn’t a hunger strike that makes God do what we’re asking; it’s a gift from our Creator that helps us increasingly recognize our true spiritual condition, enables us to pray for others, and aids in spiritual growth and development. Continue reading