I don’t fast. Many Christians extol fasting as a spiritual discipline, a catalyst of spiritual power, and an exercise in humbling oneself. I understand the reasons others choose to fast, and I respect their convictions. But I don’t fast, and I’d like to tell you why. I don’t share my thoughts to suggest other views are wrong or to persuade anyone to change their views. But perhaps my perspective will be valuable to someone else in the Lord.
Years ago I did fast. My decision not to fast began after I asked the Lord about it. He answered with a rephrasing of Galatians 5:6—For in Christ Jesus neither fasting nor not fasting accomplishes anything; what matters is faith working through love. After that, I didn’t worry much about fasting. I still fasted now and then. But I began to see fasting as optional. Faith working through love is what counted.
Fast forward a few years. I did a Bible study on fasting. Why? Many of my friends fasted and felt it was important. The Lord had led me differently but was I missing something? My study took me through every verse related to fasting in the Bible as well as many other verses. There is much I could say about this study, much more than a blog post could contain. So I’ll summarize.
My first major conclusion was that fasting is an outward sign of Christ’s death working within. Eating is a sign of His resurrection. Isaiah 58:6 and 7 say, “Isn’t the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and not to ignore your own flesh and blood?” These verses, among others, showed me that true fasting is a sacrificial lifestyle. Knowing Christ in His sufferings and being conformed to His death is paramount (Php. 3:10). Going without food as a sign of that fellowship is optional.
My second major conclusion involved Matthew 9:14-17. Jesus is asked why He and His disciples don’t fast. Jesus answers, “Can the wedding guests be sad while the groom is with them? The time will come when the groom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Matt. 9:15). Again, fasting is associated with the death of Jesus. The cross robbed us of our Groom for a time. But He was restored to us in the resurrection. We are joined to our Groom by eternal marriage. Nothing can separate us from Him or His love again (Rom. 8:38-39). How can we be sad and fast while our Groom is with us? The Lord impressed on my heart that there is no need for me to fast because my union with Him is unbroken.
Within Christian tradition and current trends, my views on fasting are not the norm. I understand this and am comfortable with it. Jesus said, “John did not come eating or drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds” (Matt. 11:18-19). Whether to fast or not is a personal decision. Each of us can only do what we see our Father doing (John 5:19). I trust that His wisdom will be vindicated in each of our lives.
NO FASTING ZONE