We hear this question during this time of year. Some of us even give something up. Why? We know that at times there are assorted medical tests and procedures that require fasting, but those are for accurate results or avoiding potential problems. These are about physical well-being, not about spiritual disciplines. Some have fasted in protest of an unjust practice. This is not a spiritual discipline, but it is a response to a human behavior.
Giving up something or fasting is a way for us to grow in our spiritual lives. As we deny ourselves, we are able to become more aware of God’s sacrificial gift for us. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, fasted weekly. Fasting allows us to pay penitence for our overindulgences. It also allows more time for prayer. We fast from something we depend on so that we may more fully depend on God. Many of us think of a traditional fast, such as giving up food or drink. However, there are other types of fasts. Some give-up social media for Lent. Still others abstain from meat during Lent.
Consider this spiritual discipline for yourself and your family. You may choose to give up alcohol, chocolate, food on Fridays, Face Book, going to the movies, potato chips, texting, or some other thing that is a part of your daily life. In the giving up, you are making more room in your life for God.