Currently I am preaching through the book of Matthew and I am not preaching on fasting (Matthew 6:16-18), instead I am preaching on serving Christ rather than money (Matthew 6: 19-24). Therefore, I have written a little piece on fasting that I thought I would post.
Fasting is abstaining from something that is good or normal for spiritual purposes. Fasting in the classic and biblical sense is abstaining from food and drink for a specific period of time. The gift of fasting is that it helps a person become more aware of their own inner issues (anger, greed, loneliness, boredom) and also become more attune to the Lord. Fasting gives us the space and time to deal with some of these issues and to grow in our prayer life which accompanies our time of fasting. When we fast we are feasting with God through prayer, bible reading and awareness of His presence.
Fasting doesn’t have to be from food only. For example, we can practice a media fast. This would be a day where we would not watch TV, surf the Internet, play video games etc… Often we will find that a media fast is more difficult than a food fast. We live in such a media rich culture and are taught that media is essential to life. What we learn from fasting is that God in Christ is the source of our life and that there is real strength and power that flows from the Lord. A media fast also gives us more time for relationships because the time we normally spend in front of the screen is now available to deepen our relationship with God and our neighbor.
While fasting might be currently out of style it is still a powerful and essential spiritual practice.