Suppose an individual is dieting. They are not eating anything or drinking to lose weight or other purposes. But can people call it fasting? The answer is NO! Fasting isn’t some magical rite to persuade God to respond to your prayers. It’s not about causing harm to your body or denying yourself. So, why do Christians fast? Fasting is more than just staying hungry. Fasting is a spiritual practice in which Christians abstain from something pleasurable, such as food, to focus on their spiritual life and find fulfillment in God.
Fasting is a concept that is followed in different religions. Although the main idea is similar in most faiths, the practice varies and is done for various purposes.
Let’s discuss what fasting is and why Christians fast? What are its benefits?
What Is Fasting?
Fasting is classified as staying without eating for an extended period. The act isn’t particularly Christian, nor is it particularly religious; it might just be physical, but most people in the world fast for spiritual reasons.
According to Christian scriptures, Fasting is a temporary abstention from something desirable in and of itself, such as food, to enhance an individual’s desire for something higher, specifically, God and His activity in one’s life.
Fasting is not specifically instructed in the Scriptures for Christians when defined in this way. For instance, fasting is not as prevalent in Christianity as in Islam. The fasting that Muslims observe throughout Ramadan is an obligation in Islam for all true Muslims.
Fasting in Christianity is all about having a strong desire to please God. Selfishness or literalism should not be used to justify fasting. Jesus remarked when lecturing on the subject, “When you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be evident to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” [Mathew 6:17-18].
Why Christians Fast?
Following are some common answers to the question, “Why do Christians fast?”
- It is seen as a form of worship.
- Fasting helps in bringing followers closer to God.
- It is a religious practice observed by Jesus and even Moses.
- Fasting grants great spiritual blessings.
- It helps followers grow their self-control to eliminate worldly desires.
Benefits of Fasting
Many Christians fast as instructed by Jesus Christ but don’t know it has a lot of religious and health benefits. Following are some common benefits of fasting for Christians.
Closeness to God
In Joel 2:12, God says, “Return to me with all your heart, fasting, weeping, and mourning; and rend your hearts, not your clothes.” This verse clearly indicates that if someone wants closeness to God, they should fast. Fasting is an act of bringing a follower closer and near to God. Fasting can drastically affect the lives of Christians. Fasting is an act to honor God and the Holy Spirit. The importance of fasting given to God can be witnessed in several other verses throughout the Bible.
It can also be seen that the followers offer their hearts to God when they fast. When Christians devote their hearts to Him, their relationship with God grows stronger and better. God is instructing the Israelites to repent by fasting, which can eliminate their sins and result in the forgiveness of God.
A Means of Worship
One of the most important reasons and benefits of fasting is that it is a form of worship. Like people eat when they’re hungry, the hunger of faith can be fulfilled by fasting. Fasting is not a substitute for faith in Christ. It is an element of Christianity. Fasting is a method of expressing how much a follower needs, desires, and respects Jesus with their stomachs and entire bodies. It’s a way of declaring that they’re not going to be trapped by food as a source of fulfillment. Christians utilize food abstinence from time to time to demonstrate that Jesus is more important than food.
Helps To Learn Self-Control
Christians don’t fast because they’re agnostic, mystic, or believe food has no worth. The world is wonderful, and when people nurture their bodies properly, they honor God’s wishes for the earth and their bodies. However, people aren’t always the ultimate judge of what’s suitable. Self-control, or the capacity to regulate one’s cravings and impulses, is one of the Spirit’s fruits.
For instance, fasting has long been touted as a treatment for lust since the same region of the brain that regulates people’s food intake also controls their sexual cravings. On a bigger scale, people acquire the kind of self-control that is beneficial in all things by postponing the gratification of their hunger for food.
It Enhances Brain Function
When someone fasts, their cognitive ability improves dramatically. People become more aware of their environment and minds throughout this period. This is because while people fast, they aren’t reliant on glucose as a source of energy. Ketones are abruptly used by the body, which increases cognition. This happens solely when people fast.
Going without eating helps one’s brain expands and improves their general wellness. According to various research studies, metabolic flipping alters various signaling pathways that enhance brain resilience to injury, illness, and neuroplasticity. People can see that ketones are good for their brains since they make them stronger in the face of catastrophes like bodily damage.
It Promotes Detoxification of Body
When people fast, their bodies decide not to provide fuel to their digestive systems. As a result, the body begins to look for undesirable cells that are reactive or holding people down. In this stage, the body is truly detoxifying.
The body will search for tumors, damaged tissues, dead cells, fatty deposits, and cysts during fasting, all of which will be burnt for fuel or evacuated as waste. The immune system’s functioning and metabolic process are restored when these barriers are removed.
Our Final Thoughts
So, why do Christians Fast? Fasting is mentioned several times in the Bible. The Bible makes it quite apparent that it strengthens our faith. Fasting is shown in the Bible by great Biblical figures. It is also clearly communicated to Jesus’ disciples that the followers who fast with a sincere heart before God will be rewarded. Researchers make scientific findings all the time, and we may always learn something new. Only lately has science been able to establish the physiological and health benefits of fasting. It shouldn’t, however, come as a surprise. Many races and faiths have practiced fasting for thousands of years. Not only does fasting have religious benefits, but it also offers health benefits. So, As Christians, we should fast as per God’s commands to lead a spiritual and healthy life.