February 22, 2008

Fasting: Because Jesus Lives in You

Luke 12:29-31

Daniel ... said ... ?Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.?
Daniel 1:11-12


For centuries fasting was a significant discipline for many Christians. In today?s ?me generation,? fasting could deteriorate into a cheap weight-control method. Although fasting can be abused, it can also be practiced to develop good spiritual health.

Most basically, fasting reminds us that it is good to be moderate and restrained in all our physical drives and indulgences. More important, our bodies are ?members of Christ himself? and ?temple[s] of the Holy Spirit? (1?Corinthians 6:15, 19). So we should take care of our bodies; they belong to the Lord.

Fasting can also help God?s people develop the self-control needed to deal wisely with daily stress or deep crises. At best it reminds us that we are not our own, but belong to God.

Near the start of their training for service in Babylon, Daniel and his three friends ate simply and healthfully, but not just because their mothers raised them that way. Rather, it helped them remember they were God?s people in a land far from home.

Jesus himself fasted for 40 days before Satan tempted him (Matthew 4:2). He withstood temptation not only then but forever after. On a regular basis, try making more room for the Lord in your life by eating less of certain things and focusing on him.

O Christ, the Head of your body, the church, help us feed on you, the bread of life. May we eat in ways that show that food was made for the body?not the body for food. Amen.

About the author — James and Rose Dekker

James C. Dekker is the pastor of Covenant Christian Reformed Church in St. Catharines, Ontario. Previously he served other congregations in Alberta and Ontario. Rose Dekker serves as a refugee coordinator for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee in Canada. She also serves as a certified spiritual director. The Dekkers were missionaries for nine years with Christian Reformed World Missions, serving in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Venezuela, and Cuba.

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