Friday, February 13, 2009

Why You Should Fast

Of the three works of piety Jesus seemed to expect his followers to perform (Matt 6:1-18) fasting is by far the least talked about and most neglected. You should fast because:

Practical reasons:
  1. It detoxes your system
  2. It saves money on groceries
  3. It trains your system to burn fat for energy (unless you overdo it!)
  4. You enjoy and appreciate food much more after the fast

Spiritual reasons:
  1. It reminds you to pray throughout the day and creates the time and space to do so by eliminating meals
  2. It is a symbolic self emptying to demonstrate a desire to receive God's Spirit
  3. Apart from its Biblical association with social justice (Isaiah 68) it also creates empathy with those who are hungry
  4. It creates a respite from consumption and is hence dramatically countercultural (unless you are a supermodel)
  5. It trains the body to submit its base desires to a higher purpose
  6. It demonstrates the body's fragility and weakness and helps create a sense of dependency on God
  7. Unlike prayer and almsgiving which are by necessity brief, fasting is continuous and lasts all day
  8. Unlike prayer and almsgiving which are things we do, fasting is a non-act, it is not something we do but something we dont do, so there is no possibility of thinking we are somehow influencing the world with our power
  9. It will have a radical effect on your walk with God. Don't believe me? Try it

Anymore ideas?

PS. fasting should not be practised by anyone with good medical reason not to do so, e.g. pregnant or nursing women and children. A good fast is from evening after dinner through the next day till morning of the second day, but you could do evening meal to evening meal, breakfast to breakfast, or just miss one meal. And no, giving up chocolate or television, while worthy in themselves, do not count!

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