Last week’s article did not answer the question, so let me get right to it this week. The Bible nowhere commands Christians to fast. Fasting, according to the New Testament, is an entirely non-compulsory, voluntary act, not a spiritual duty to be regularly observed by the believer. However, fasting does have some healthy spiritual benefit and is almost always connected with prayer.
There are two extreme views concerning fasting. There are some people who believe that fasting is an absolute necessity to be bound on everyone else. This view says the more you fast, the closer to God you will be and so they establish all sorts of rules regarding fasting. The Apostle wrote to the Christians in Colossians warning them about such an attitude. On the other extreme there are some Christians who hold that fasting accomplishes nothing and that is not the picture we get from Scripture. The truth on fasting falls somewhere in-between the two extremes. The Holman Bible Dictionary says that, Fasting is the laying aside of food for a period of time when the believer is seeking to know God in a deeper experience. I think that definition is important because it emphasizes that fasting is not just giving up something it is gaining something.
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