Today’s episode focuses on the topic of fasting, which is arguably as nebulous and misunderstood as it is crucial to the Christian life. Rather than the sort of seasonal recreation many Christians consider fasting to be, it is actually meant to be treated as a spiritual discipline. Fasting offers to be a restraint on the flesh, testimony of humiliation, and preparation for prayer. It provides a way to recall mortality, flee from sin, repent, and even grow in gratitude for gifts like food that the Lord provides. There is a profound spiritual dynamic to prayer and fasting, with fasting reminding us of the relationship between the physical and the spiritual and pushing us to feed on the Word of God and depend on the Spirit, rather than depending on the flesh. And since the Bible speaks of the “when” Jesus’ disciples fast (versus “if”), it’s clear that fasting is an expected practice in the life of the believer.
While the Bible makes it clear that Christians are to fast, it doesn’t prescribe a certain way of doing so. There is no legislation of time frame, regularity, etc. Of course, standard practice is to fast from food, but Christians can fast from other things, as well (and for some, medical necessity limits them to fasting from things other than food!). The guys talk through their own practices of fasting, and give an idea of how to get started with the practice. They suggest listeners looking to jump in invite friends for accountability, start small, and make fasting a regular practice. There are some people who hold to extremely long fasts, following the 40-day pattern of Moses’ and Jesus’ fasts. However, most hold to shorter fasts, and the guys can testify to the spiritual benefit of even trading a meal or two in a day for prayer and time in the Word. People’s souls (and even bodies!) are helped, they are trained up in greater spiritual fitness, and they have opportunity to use time and money usually dedicated to food for other good things. And at the end of the day, since God has prescribed fasting, we must simply obey and see what He does!