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The Four Letter Word That Makes Our Stomachs (G)rumble!

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/23/2006 | Religion
Christianity is totally based on a "good" four-letter word - LOVE! Love for God and love for our neighbor. This is all that is required for Christians to get St. Peter to "open" the gates to Heaven.

Another four-letter word is central to Christian teaching. Yet, this one doesn't set our hearts thumping, but rather, makes our stomachs (g)rumble!

To most Christians, FAST is a bad four-letter word, since they find fasting distasteful and to be avoided as far as possible. Yet, when we search the Scriptures, we find that to "fast" is one of the four-letter "good" words, according to the Word of God!

To fast, according to the Scriptures, is to abstain from food and drink. And, although many people abstain from food and drink, it is not for spiritual reasons, but for various other reasons, like physical fitness, controlling abnormal health conditions, body beautification, etc.

Fasting in Christian life is a necessary means of true repentance for our own sins and the sins of others. It helps to make us less self-centered and enables us to grow into a God-centered life in the manner of Jesus Christ. "...repent sincerely and return to me with fasting and weeping and mourning. Let your broken heart show your sorrow; tearing your clothes is not enough ( Joel 2: 12 - 13 ).

Moses fasted in atonement for the sin of idolatry committed by his people ( Ex 34: 28; Deut 9: 18 ). Saul, after his encounter with Jesus, on the road to Damascus, fasted three days in his state of blindness, before the Lord sent Ananias to give his sight back again ( Acts 9: 9 ).

Fasting, accompanied by prayer, is also necessary to enable us to discover God's will for us. It helps to change ourselves so that we open our hearts and minds to God's promptings. Jesus fasted in the desert, before his public ministry, to learn his Father's will. Moses fasted on Mount Sinai, before he received the Ten Commandments from God ( Deut 9: 9 ).

Fasting, accompanied by intercessory prayer, is necessary if we want to show God how earnestly we want him to satisfy our needs. The psalmist fasted and prayed for deliverance from his enemies ( Ps 109: 20 - 25 ). The sailors and soldiers on the ship, caught in a storm, fasted for fourteen days ( Acts 27: 33 ).

Finally, fasting, accompanied by almsgiving, is necessary to express our solidarity with the poor and suffering. Not only will we experience what millions are experiencing every single day, but it will also make us more sensitive to the needs of the poor. function SubmitRating(btn) { ratingchecked = false; if (btn.form.aRating0.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating1.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating2.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating3.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating4.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (ratingchecked) { btn.form.btnRating.value=btn.value; btn.form.submit(); } else { alert("Be sure a rating value has been selected to continue."); } }