Wednesday, March 8, 2017

A Strange Discipline

The one spiritual discipline no one rushes toward is fasting.  Talk about something which goes against the grain!  We are a nation of people who eat and eat and eat.  There may be a lot of churches up and down our streets, but they are overshadowed in number by the number of places where people can eat.  Church Row has been replaced by Fast Food Row!  And to make sure what is obvious is always in the forefront, advertisers are constantly bombarding us with words and pictures telling us how much we need to eat what they are offering.  Of course, most of us do not need too much encouragement.  Eating has become a national pastime.

How strange that the Lenten Invitation calls us to fast.  For the those who might think the word has to do with the pace of living, know that it refers to abstaining from food for a specific time.  But, it is the purpose which is important.  Fasting is not about dieting, or losing weight.  Instead, fasting is a spiritual discipline which enables us to be more focused on the presence of God in our life.  We sometimes hear folks around us talking about fasting to lose weight, but they are simply misusing the term.  Fasting is always a spiritual exercise which enables us experience divine presence as well as experiencing spiritual benefits.

It seems strange to put something as physical as eating up as something which can provide spiritual blessings, but it is true, nonetheless.  Think for a minute.  How many times a day do we either eat or think about eating?  How would our day be different if every time we thought about eating, we remembered that we were not eating as a way of becoming conscious of God's presence and His will in our life?  Think about it.  If there is no prohibitive medical reason, try it.  Decide to fast for one day and find out this basic truth about fasting.

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