Friday, March 28, 2014
From time to time we will hear someone speak of needing to fast for a few days in order to lose some weight. The correct word to use when losing weight is the goal is dieting. Actually, dieting and fasting have very little in common. Dieting is about the body. Fasting is about the soul. Dieting is measured by pounds being lost. Fasting is measured by attentiveness to God. Dieting is about the physical. Fasting is about the spiritual. Dieting is about how we appear to others. Fasting is concerned with how we appear to our God who looks only at our inward being.
Fasting is not a word which is only relative to food. We can fast and choose to do without food. We could also fast and chose to do without television, or that carry around phone that not only tells us who is calling, but tells us how important we are. We can fast and choose to leave work at work, or we can fast and give up things like negative and unkind words. We can even fast and choose not to watch Sunday afternoon sports events.
Of course, the whole point of it all has to do with our motive. If weight loss is our goal, then forget about using fasting as a word that describes what we are doing. And if calling attention to what we are doing is what drives us, then we have missed the mark again. The thing about fasting is the way it spills over into the rest of our life. It helps us realize how much we long for things we really can let go, but the one thing we really cannot live without which is our relationship with God we so easily let it go. If we thought as much about God in the course of a day as we do the food we are doing without, how different our spiritual life would be. Fasting causes us to see what is really consuming our time and our energy. It helps us see what we have declared by lifestyle choices to be important.