We’re coming upon an interesting time of the year: Lent. This is where many religious people give up something until Easter. The idea is that you sacrifice something you enjoy for that period of time in order to appreciate God and His gifts all the more. It is also so that the time you would normally spend on that or with that would then be dedicated to the Lord. As one from a Protestant background, this is not a normal practice in my upbringing. With the exception of Christmas, Easter, communion and baptism, we don’t really celebrate a lot of holy days, but there are some benefits to the idea of Lent and, more so, to the practice of fasting.
When we think of fasting we think about not eating anything while sitting around with our hands on our stomach watching the clock until we can finally grab a bowl of ice cream out of the freezer. That’s not really what fasting is all about. If you look in the Bible at those who fasted – Moses, Esther, Nehemiah, David, Ahab, Ezra, the Nations of Israel and Judah, Anna, Jesus, the church in Acts, Cornelius, Paul – you’ll notice that they were looking to draw closer to God. The city of Nineveh fasted, prayed and repented seeking out the mercy of God (Jonah 3). Moses fasted for 40 days and 40 nights as he listened to God and wrote down His commands (Exodus 34:28-29). In fact, two others fasted for 40 days: Elijah (1 Kings 19:7-9) and Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:1-2). It’s amazing how all three of those ended up greatly serving the Lord!