To Your Health

Benefits of Fasting

The discipline of fasting (willing abstinence, for a time, from eating) is enjoying a revival. In Scripture, fasting is associated with being humbled or afflicting oneself.

If you delay for some hours your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and maybe snacks, you’ll feel hungry. Eventually, all of your thoughts will focus on hunger. In time, craving food will become a paramount concern.

The fasting revival is driven by the realization that, when done properly, it has helpful effects on the body. Studies show how fasting reduces insulin resistance, increases metabolism, repairs cells, and reduces oxidative inflammation.

Fasting focuses our minds. It also reveals our physical frailty. We see exactly how frequently we can be ruled by the desires of our bodies. For instance, a popular and hilarious TV candy bar commercial illustrates how people tend to act out of character when they feel hungry.

…fasting reduces insulin resistance, increases metabolism, repairs cells, and reduces oxidative inflammation.”
Fasting, as described in the Bible, is simple. The problem is that most of us equate “simple” with “easy.” When we fast—simply drinking nothing but water for a half day, a day, or even multiple days—we realize how difficult that can be.

For me, fasting for the purpose of afflicting my soul to hear God’s voice can seem impossible. Such was the case in Isaiah where the people of Israel had fasted, but thought only of their personal desires, rather than on the needs of others and on obeying God.

When we fast as a spiritual discipline and focus on God and what He wants for us to do, God says in Isaiah 58: “…then you will find your joy in the LORD,” verse 14.

Next time, we’ll talk about joy, exercise, and depression.

by Major Richard Sanchez

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