Colossians 3:2 tells us that our affection (our love and desire) should be set on things above and fasting helps us do that. The fact is that many times we are more like those mentioned in Philippians 3:18-19 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) We certainly don’t want to think of ourselves as the enemies of the cross, but if our focus is on the world and our physical body we are. Look at that phrase ‘whose god is their belly’. Do you think that describes a society where there are almost 4 times as many eating places as there are churches? How many times do we think that fellowship means food? We as a society and even Christians are obsessed with food many times. Fasting teaches us to eat to live instead of living to eat.
Whether you agree with these things or not, you are probably wondering why I am bringing this up in a Father Friday post. The answer is that it will make a huge difference in many areas of your personal life. It takes commitment, self-control, will-power, strength, endurance, and patience to fast. All of those things are beneficial, even necessary, traits for the Christian father to have in his life. A lack of self-control is a root of all kinds of evil. That is what James describes. Every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust. Practicing fasting is a way to practice self-control so that your self-control muscles will be strong the next time you are faced with temptation. If you can go through a whole day without food which is necessary for life, then you can go through days without yelling at the kids or wife, looking at pornography, telling dirty jokes, lying, stealing, drinking, or whatever other sinful things you struggle with which are not necessary for life.
There are so many spiritual benefits to regular fasting that it is no wonder Jesus said that his followers would fast. Jesus fasted, if we want to be like him why would we skip this tool. For those that only care about the physical, there are physical benefits: a couple could cut their food budget by 14% if they fast once a week, it is also a way to cleanse the body of impurities, and you may lose weight as well. The first meal after fasting tastes better than normal. Which brings us to another type of fasting that the Bible mentions, we’ll talk about that next time.