Welcome to the blog, and welcome to the fourth instalment of my research for the Bible Study I am launching in March 2019!
I am so excited to be sharing the official graphic for the study, credited to my wonderful and compassion friend, Sam Stuckless.
And so excited about today’s topic: aren’t you supposed to fast food?
It is true that the Bible does not speak of fasting beyond fasting food.
And I think it is very important to acknowledge this.
Fasting literally translates to “abstinence from food.” So, perhaps a word other than “fast” should be used for the abstinence of something other than food in order to spend that time with God.
The important distinction here is that food is a necessity for life. Social media, television, a favourite sport, or anything else you might be convicted to fast certainly are not necessities.
Still, I think the key is that a fast is meant to remind one of their need for time with God, in prayer, worship, and in the Word.
And perhaps you’ll find fasting food is something important for you to do when you pray– but God meets us where we’re at.
I come from a past in which restriction of food itself was my idol. So, I would not restrict food. And I would urge you that if any slight part of you is thinking, “ooh, maybe I’ll lose some weight” at the idea of fasting food, that is probably not the thing you should fast.
Fasting [food] is not worthwhile if it costs you your health, and is in fact discouraged… It is not necessarily what item you give up, but more about what that item means to you and how it reminds you to stay focused on the Lord (Mahoney 2017).
To clarify: the definition of fasting is the abstinence of food.
For our purposes, and in our culture, the goal is to give up something that is in idol in our lives, and spend the time we would be giving that idol in prayer.
What is an idol?
Exodus 32:1-5 When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”
Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.”
So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron.
He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.
In the Old Testament, the idols of the Israelites were often of images or physical objects, such as the golden calf above.