Should Christians fast for Lent?
Every year during Lent we are advised to give something up that means a lot to us whether it is chocolate or coffee, for example. A lot of emphasis is put on fasting. This is the abstinence of food in an attempt to connect with God. It is to make one so desperate that they would abstain from other things that can distract us from God.
Should this actually be done? Not only is it not practical when it comes to the work place but what damage does it do to the body?
Muscles waste. The muscles start turning into glucose. This is to preserve the brain. The body is consuming your muscles so that it can feed off the sugar. That sugar will go to the brains, kidneys, etc.
The immune system is compromised. The intestinal tract, responsible for 70% of your antibodies) will cease to assist your immunity. This gives virus, bacteria and toxins an opportunity to continue existing inside your gut.
Lowers metabolism and causes increased level in cortisol. Cortisol raises stress.
Fasting damages digestion.
There are peak times in the body for the secretion of digestive enzymes in preparation for our meals. When abstaining from food, these enzymes continue to circulate within and damage the lining of the digestive tract. Gastrointestinal problems like acid reflux and ulcers will occur.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Fasting is never recommended prolonged. The benefits are only if it is down once a month that it may prevent heart disease and insulin resistance which is the precursor to diabetes. Apparently there is a possibility that can reduce cancer risks.
From examining these pros and cons I would advise that fasting not be undertaken. People will be quick to say that Jesus fasted Himself according to the gospel of Him fasting in the wilderness. The facts are that it is physically impossible to fast for 40 days and live to tell the tale. You can only live at the most 30 days but you’d be on the brink of death. How can Jesus hike in the wilderness on Day 40? He would have died in the wilderness.
My opinion is that Jesus did not abstain from food as a mean of fasting. His being in the wilderness was fasting in that He withdrew from worldly influences and was connected to God through fervent prayer. See this scripture:
"Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17"But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face…
How does one show that one is fasting in public? It reminds me of the Pharisees praying in public for everyone to see.
THE DEVIL LOVES THE WEAK
Not only is fasting really bad on the body, there is another concern I have. The devil is the most powerful when a person is weak. To undergo prolonged fasting, the body is going to get weak and thus the spirit.
A German girl, called Anneliese Michel, suffered from severe demonic possession. When she was 17, she suffered convulsions. She was diagnosed with grand mal epilepsy. She experienced satanic hallucinations and voices taunting her that she was going to die. Her parents suspected that she did not have a medical condition but that it was demonic possession. They withdrew her from all medical treatment and relied on exorcisms.
Anneliese decided to fast because she believed it would rid her of Satan’s presence. In 1976, she died from dehydration and malnourishment. She also had pneumonia and a high fever. It was her true belief that fasting would save her that contributed to her demise. This is a brief synopsis of her story. You can learn more in the documentary video posted below.
Conclusion. Fasting is unnecessary and should be avoided. Our whole lives should be connecting with God not just during lent or a fasting period. I think Jesus would rather us do something productive with a full stomach than being weak lying about not doing anything.