There are several things about fasting that can be tricky. Jesus warns us elsewhere to not appear pitiful while fasting to get attention. We also shouldn’t use that time we would normally eat to be super-productive either. Many religions fast. Lots of people don’t eat simply to shed calories. What differentiates fasting from merely skipping meals is what you do instead- connecting with the Living God. Check out this quote from Thomas Merton…
"The goal of fasting is inner unity. This means hearing, but not with the ear; hearing, but not with the understanding; it is hearing with the spirit, with your whole being. The hearing that is only in the ears is one thing. The hearing of the understanding is another, but the hearing of the spirit is not limited to any one faculty, to the ear, or to the mind. Hence, it demands the emptiness of the faculties, and when the faculties are empty, then your whole being listens. There is then a direct grasp of what is right before you that can never be heard with the ear or understood with the mind. Fasting of the heart empties the faculties, frees you from limitations and from preoccupations."
Now, as someone who loves more than his share of food fasting can be tough. Part of it for me is surrendering the privileges I enjoy of being able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want it, and how much I want of it. A privilege that works to my disadvantage. I’m attached to food, not only for nutrition but for enjoyment, and often for social purposes as well. Fasting detaches me from my need and allows me to focus on God. This purposeful disruption is an ancient discipline and something that countless saints have utilized in their walk with God.
So, what do you think? Do you fast?