We have discussed why the Christian should practice fasting, but many people including myself have had a hard time with the discipline in the past. I know that in the past I have chosen not to fast out of fear and misunderstanding. Fasting places a lot of concerns for some people who are worried that the limited diet will affect their work, energy levels, mood, or relationships.
Yesterday I mentioned that we fast because it is commanded, practiced, and expected by Jesus in the New Testament. Christians fast because it is a physical representation of our spiritual hunger and longing for the return of Christ. We fast because we are mourning over the sin of the world, our community, and maybe even our own life. Not as a punishment or self-infliction because of our sin, but because we are longing for the return of Christ when sin and death will be no more.
I must admit that when I first became a Christian, the practice of fasting was in my mind a discipline reserved for the super elite believers who shaved their heads and prayed for twenty-four hours a day continually. However, my mind was changed as I read Christ words in the ninth chapter of Matthew's Gospel: