Fasting is pretty easy.
Breaking our fast is what always gets us in trouble.
Deciding not to over eat, staying away from unhealthy activities or passing up on purchasing unnecessary things is initially fairly simple. Evidently, we have more strength than some others we know, because they get upset when they’re late for or miss dinner, and can’t seem to walk on by any opportunity to get something new.
It’s seldom much of a problem for us to go without breakfast and dinner.
The problem arises when it’s super time, or if somebody offers us a snack in-between. Then we lose all of our dedication. Seldom do we pass up a give-me bite, when we’d be just as happy without it.
Likewise, when supper time arrives, we have little control, despite planning and promising we’ll take only a small amount. We usually follow our plan for the first helping. But, there’s still an abundance on the table, so we go back for more, and sometimes a third. Our discipline goes out the door.
Fasting does not just pertain to eating sparingly, but refers to anything a person wants and doesn’t really need. Yet, they don’t have the power to refrain from it. Many books have been written on the benefits of fasting, and there are widely varied philosophies on the subject.
For us, it is simply “self control.” Whether it’s food, drink, pleasure or material possessions, fasting means limiting consumption or abstaining from completely. Most of today’s society don’t want to do without, and they really don’t think they can. The thought of fasting, let alone abstinence, never crosses their mind.
A side note on the subject was recently brought to our attention. As we were growing up and raising our children, we were always told: “Make sure you eat everything on your plate at meal time. Make a happy plate.”
With our highly overweight society, today’s youth maybe should be told: “Don’t eat everything in front of you. Save it for this evening. Or better yet, give it to someone
who really is hungry.”
Importance of fasting is noted 28 times in the Bible and generally is referred to in context of food consumption, but not always. Likewise, accompaniment of prayer seems to enhance fasting. In Psalm 35:13: “I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom.”
However, it’s important to note Daniel 6:18: “Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment.” But fasting is not enough as in Isaiah 58:4: “What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere.”
Yet, this is personal matter as ordered in Matthew 6:18: “Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”