Since I have a bit more time upon my hands these days (for the first time in my life), and have decided to try to keep this blogging up for a while, I have actually missed a lunch or two! So, I want to talk about fasting.
No, I don’t consider missing my lunch true fasting—though it sets up the principle behind fasting quite nicely. Fasting, in the biblical sense, is not stated. The term “fasting,” where it occurs in New Testament commands in the KJV, was added later as a gloss on the original text by people who had become enamored with it. They had ideas about fasting as meritorious and read this into Scripture. The better manuscripts all omit the word in such contexts.
So, what is proper fasting?
Not stated (that is, planned for specific days, periods, or times) as a regular practice, but occasional.
Occasional fasting, as you might suppose from the word attached to it, is fasting quite naturally brought about by an occasion. As I said, when speaking about missing lunch, the principle is clearly seen in what took place. When something else is so important to you that it supersedes other activities—even a meal, or meals—that is occasional fasting. Ordinarily, in such serious matters, one becomes so engrossed in prayer and study of the Word that he may even forget to eat for a time. This might occur, for example, in times of personal or national peril or crucial decision-making.
At any rate, what is to be avoided is fasting for fasting’s sake—fasting as an attempted means of manipulating, or otherwise, controlling God. God will hear and determine how he will answer your sincere prayer whether or not it is accompanied by fasting.
Check out Jay’s “radio” messages on the web this week. Today he begins a series entitled “How to Win an Unsaved Husband.”