Jesus’ words about fasting make me think about why I do not practice fasting. The biggest reason is that I like eating. Most of the time, I eat healthy food and normal amounts. I can skip a meal without anxiety and do think too much about calories, carbohydrates and such.
Some people lose their appetite if they’re upset. Not me! When I get the flu and feel nauseous, I cannot wait to get eating again.
I believe that getting back to eating will strengthen my body. I think eating will help me get well soon! I may be way off on this, but it is a deeply held belief. The thought of fasting is a challenge to my appreciation for food.
Another reason I do not fast is the way it makes me feel. Like Jesus in the wilderness (yeah, that’s me…) fasting opens up my mind to temptation. When I have spent prolonged times in prayer and even fasted, I found myself getting less spiritual instead of more. I found myself slipping back into fleshier thoughts.
Alcoholics talk about H.A.L.T. If you are hungry, angry, lonely and tired you are more susceptible to losing sobriety. This is partly why fasting scares me. Perhaps it ties to the saying about idleness being the Devil’s workshop. Or maybe… I need some really good reasons to pursue fasting. Let me get a snack and think about that.
You could make the case that I need to feel this emptiness and temptation, so I move into greater dependence on grace and less on self-reliance. Jesus seemed to handle the wilderness fasting and temptation well. He came back and fulfilled His mission. I’m more like Peter or Thomas than I am like Jesus. I just might fall asleep in the Garden when Jesus wants me to stay awake and pray. I do feel bad about that. In addition to eating, I also have a real fondness for getting a good night’s sleep.
The last reason for me to fast is to keep up with the ‘Spiritual Joneses’. If I think that fasting or praying will impress God or others following me, I miss the point. If I think that it is going to be a way to have super powers granted to me, I might be missing the point.