A few years back, the youth at a church I was attending started the year with some type of fasting regimen. Each day they would not do something. One day they would fast from video games, the next day they would fast from Facebook, or their phone or their television or from whatever. They would fast from some external device, usually something related to the use of electronics. I don’t remember how long it was for but I think it was for at least three weeks. I really didn’t have an opinion about it but thinking back I guess it seemed trivial and they seemed to treat it like a game. I overheard one conversation and one person said that he had no video games to play anyway since he mastered the games he had, so it wasn’t a big deal that the next he was to fast from his Xbox.
I think it about it now and I am glad I said nothing at the time. At least they were doing some type of fast even though it didn’t seem like much of a sacrifice. I wasn’t fasting at all so I kept my thoughts inside my head. But I have had time to think about it and that type of fast seems trivial and empty. Giving up my phone does not seem like much of a sacrifice. That’s easy. I’d like give up work for a day but that wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice either. It seems like almost every other theological teaching we have lessened the value and meaning of something that has significant spiritual depth.
Jesus fasted consistently. The bible does not say how often but it seems pretty clear that His ministry would not have had the impact if He wasn’t disciplined in a habit of fasting. Same with the apostles after Him whom He commissioned. Fasting and prayer were what they practiced in order to effective ambassadors for the Gospel. I keep coming back to incorporating fasting into my spiritual life, and everyone around me thinks I am crazy or being over zealous or something. But I cannot escape this nagging feeling that fasting with prayer needs to be part of my life.
I don’t want to live a trivial life before my Lord, and that’s how I feel about my life now. I cannot find meaning in my job anymore but I always give my fullest energy and effort to be the best employee. I need to live for Jesus in a way that is revolutionary for me, and I believe fasting is the practice that will start the process.