Today is Ash Wednesday. It represents the start of 40 days of fasting. It’s the 40 days before Easter. In the Christian world, it attempts to mirror the 40 days that Jesus fasted in the desert. It can be a Christians expression of trying to be like Jesus in preparation for a day that Christians celebrate regarding Him.
So what is fasting? Why do it? Is there some benefit to it? Is it a spiritual thing or physical thing? Does the Bible talk about it? Do people who believe in God need to do it?
First, fasting is a practice in the Bible. But it does not say that we need to do it before Easter. This is a tradition. A good one. But let’s be clear, if you don’t do it, your are not going against the Bible.
Secondly, fasting is not about denial as many practice it. It’s about refocusing. It’s about putting first what is first. It’s not a punishment, it’s a strategic move for people to make sure that things we believe take a lot of focus in our life stay second to the things that are, or should be, first. In this case, it’s about Jesus.
Thirdly, fasting isn’t about absolute distance from the thing that is on your target fasting list. For thousands of years, many who practice fasting simply stayed away from food for one meal, not the whole day. It was a symbol of putting first things first. So if you chose to fast, it’s not a hard and “fast” rule ;). Simply remember that it’s about putting the right things first and putting the other things that we some times rely on too much, out of the drivers seat.
So this year, are you going to observe Lent? What are your experiences with it? And hopefully if you give up coffee, it will go by fast 😉