The Purpose of Fasting, Part 1


(My apologizes for not blogging much recently. Since starting my new job, I have yet to settle into a good blogging routine.

The other week I spent some time thinking about fasting in an attempt to understand what the big deal about fasting was. I have decided to try something a little different. Instead of summarizing my thoughts into one blog post, each day, for this next week, I will share my daily thoughts.)


Being raised in a Christian home and in the church, I’ve certainly been taught about fasting. And yet it seems to me that in the late eighties and into the nineties, and indeed, even now, there seems to have been, and still be, an idea that fasting doesn’t necessarily mean fasting from, though it does include, food. I was taught that fasting can take many different forms, such as fasting from TV, from video games, from dessert, luxuries, etc. I was left to assume, generally, that fasting as only referring to food was a rather legalistic idea. This “loose” (as I will term it for lack of a better word) from of fasting certainly made fasting, for me, a whole lot easier.

And yet now I wonder if that was an accurate interpretation of fasting.

As far as I can tell, though, I am certainly open to correction, every reference in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, pertaining to fasting is about fasting from food. Were things different in the first century AD and earlier that fasting from food was the only kind of fasting conceivable?

There seems to be something about food. It is the only thing, besides water, that every single human on the earth shares an inherent, necessitated need. It connects us. It is a need we all have in common and can relate too. That in itself seems important when thinking about fasting. Another thing about fasting which I was taught growing up was that fasting was important. Indeed, in the first century AD it appeared to be common practice. What I was not taught, or if I was I was not paying attention, was why fasting was important. What is the real purpose of fasting anyway?


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