A Christian’s Guide to Fasting

Get the skinny on this spiritual discipline.

The irony here is that in biblical fasting we temporarily deny ourselves food or drink because we hunger and thirst—for God. Satisfying this kind of craving goes beyond regimented dietary rules. In fact, Jesus’ instructions on fasting and prayer are given in the same message that contains the Beatitude, “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.”

Chole expounds, “My personal definition of biblical fasting is voluntary abstinence for the love of God. . . . In an age that idolizes more and many, fasting awakens us to the holiness of less and loss.”

While fasting traditionally involves abstaining from food or drink, other forms of self-denial can also serve as meaningful fasts. One could abstain from pleasures, attachments, or cravings, such as television, social media, shopping, or even marital intimacy. We easily fill our lives with stuff, with our own pleasures, with our own self-interests. Many of these things are good as long as we don’t idolize them, yet fasting invites us to empty ourselves to make more space for God. In that emptiness, we realize how much we need the Living Water to fill us. The Holy Spirit may convict us to fast or convict us through the discipline of fasting, and we can thank him for humbling us because it places us back in step with him.

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May 25

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