Hurry Up and Fast

Scot McKnight at Jesus Creed writes a blog entitled, Fasting: From What? where he asks the question:

What happens when we shift the word fast from “denying our body food” to “denying ourselves of our pleasures”?

He makes some very interesting observations. Are we misusing the word “fast” today?

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  1. The first time I felt impressed to fast was about 6 years ago. I sensed that a 3 day fast from food was what God was calling me to. During that fast God impressed me with the fact that if I can deny my flesh that which is necessary for it’s survival (food) for 3 days. How much more can I deny my flesh the things that are not essential for survival. The flesh desires many things that suppress our sensitivity to the things of God. Fasting from those things is a great way to crucify the flesh all over again.

    I’m not sure if this is where you were going but your post reminded me of that first fast.

    Be blessed…

  2. Lew –

    Interesting that you brought this up. At the church we were at the pastor “called a fast” during the 1st 3 weeks of the year. I would often hear it said “you don’t have to “fast” from food, you can “fast” from TV or dessert, or _____”. I was bothered every time I heard that because it didn’t sound like a fast, it sounded like giving something up for lent … 2 entirely different things.

    Fasting is denying ourselves something that is essential for our survival – food, and sometimes even water. In that, we fully rely on the supernatural power of the Lord to sustain our bodies. We substitute something natural (food) for something supernatural (God’s sustaining power). Tremendous growth and healing and freeing power lies in true fasting.

    I think that we are taking something away from the meaning of fasting when we say “fasting from TV or whatever” … denying ourselves TV is a good thing, but TV is not necessary for my survival. I am not exchanging a natural thing for a supernatural thing when I do that or say that … I am simply denying myself something that brings me pleasure. Sounds like lent to me, but not fasting.

    I do have to say I have a problem with using the term “fasting” to describe giving something up. I think there is a big difference.


  3. Brandon

    Thanks for sharing this experience with me. You have made an excellent point. God is truly our sustainer, if we allow him to be.


    I think Scot McKnight’s article was a reaction against those people who are associating “fasting” with “lent” (I only say that because of the timing of his article).

    Your comment reminded me of the Lord’s Prayer. “Give us this day, our daily bread.” It’s more than just giving thanks for the food we have, it’s realizing that he is the provider of the sustenance.

    Thanks for the comments – very thought provoking.

    God’s Glory,

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