Traditionally, Friday would be a fasting day during Lent. Growing up our family did not eat meat on Fridays but we would eat fish...hmmmm....isn't fish meat? I remember reading some story of how that whole "no meat thing" came out of a church partnership with the fishing industry. Who knows? When I hear stuff like that I'm tempted to throw out the whole idea. But we are going to press through. We decided that we would give up meat at our Monday dinners because our family is typically together on that day. My husband works almost every Friday between now and Easter and we wanted to have a shared experience with our children.
I've also made a personal decision to give up two favorites, my friends Sweet and Salty. So no candy, chocolate or chips for me, and let's face it a latte is like candy for grown ups! I haven't done a lot of fasting in my life but have found it very useful. I see it as a way to cut through the static of life and really tune in to God. I love this passage from Job 23:12 in the Amplified Bible I have not gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed and treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food. So when I feel hungry I need to say "Lord you are Living Water you are the Bread of Life, let me hunger and thirst for you! When am craving a marble mocha macchiato I will remember Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Then, I have to take the time to stop and listen to the words He will speak.
There is great precedence for fasting in the Bible. The Hebrew children had regular days of fasting, the New Testament believers fasted, Jesus fasted. I don't see it as penance or punishment. It has to be about more than just giving things up, it has to be about the heart! Here are some deeper insights from the Bible:
Joel 2: 12 -13"Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning."Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Isaiah 58:6-7 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
There is a much bigger picture than just going without, I look forward to seeing how it will unfold for our family