Fasting: a Habit of Grace
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” I Corinthians 6:19-20
So often we think of our lives in a split dichotomy. There are spiritual things, and there are physical things. We tend to think that the two are not attached. We see in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 however that our physical bodies and the things we do with them truly impact our spiritual life. Paul is addressing sexual immorality in the passage referenced above, but we can also see how all things we do with our bodies impact us more than we realize.
Fasting is the abstaining of something to correct one’s perspective back to God. Its mentioned multiple times in scripture but we don’t seem to mention it very often at this point of time in history. Perhaps there is confusion as to what it is or how to do it, but like it or not we find ourselves in a “Fast” of sorts as most of us are isolated in our homes with limited interactions with others.
When it is referenced in scripture it is always in the context of abstaining from food or drink. When we hear it referred to today we often mean it to say we are giving up something we like. Someone might say, “I am fasting from social media, or the news, or exercise..” that last one was a joke. The point of fasting is to take our eyes off of the things of the world and put them back on Christ. When we tell ourselves no, which is what we are doing in a fast, we exercise the ability to handle disappointments and rejections from others. We are training ourselves to be okay with not getting our way, and surrendering to Gods. We are exercising the reminder of, “Lord more than anything else I trust in you, and run to you.”
Now fasting isn’t commanded anywhere in scripture, and doing it does not make you any better or more holy then someone who doesn’t. We are all made right only because of the blood of Christ. Fasting however is a grace, and it can, like any good exercise routine keep us in spiritual shape. It can help us to stay attached to Christ by reminding us of our need for Him.
If you’re like me today you find yourself stuck in a new routine of life you weren’t expecting; staying at home all day. So the things you once were able to use to distract you from life like sports, jobs, outdoor activities and more are slowly all being removed from us. So what can you do about that, absolutely nothing. You can though take advantage of it. Take advantage of the pain and frustration of going stir crazy. Yes, take advantage of it and see what it is telling you about yourself. Are you a more angry person during this time, more fearful, more anxious, more apathetic? When the desire to self medicate with a distraction that was once so readily available, hits you and you can’t do anything to get away from those feelings, turn to God. Come back to Him. Let your body teach you how to depend on Christ in this season.
We don’t know how long this season of life is going to last. It doesn’t have to be wasted though, it can be redeemed, and it can turn us back to our one and only hope, Jesus Christ.
Scott Hoerner, Assoc. Min. Youth/Young Adults