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27 Things You Should

Know About Fasting

The aim of this is to have a set of concise and precise reminders on the spiritual discipline of fasting. None of what is written below is original to me. There are many good books we can read on the discipline of fasting, like The Toolkit for Spiritual Growth by Fr. Evan Armatas and others. Even as you read through these reminders, our prayer is that they will serve as signposts in our path of theosis.

“Devils take great delight in fullness… Fasting possesses great power, and it works glorious things. To fast is to banquet with angels.” St. Athanasius the Great

1. God’s first commandment to man is NOT to eat of something (Gen 2:17).

2. The first thing Jesus did after His baptism was to FAST (St. Matthew 4:1–11).

3. Whereas the first Adam chose earthly delights (to eat) over God’s commandment and followed his own path, Jesus, the second Adam, rebuked the devil and held fast to his discipline (not to eat). St. Matthew 4:1–11

4. Fasting has a host of physical BENEFITS, as proven by modern scientific research.

5. Fasting is meant to be a JOYOUS means of developing our relationship with Christ.

6. Fasting is PRAYING with our bodies.

7. Fasting is a training TOOL that helps us see the connection between our physical and spiritual selves.

8. What we do with our bodies affects our spiritual lives, so fasting helps us ALIGN ourselves with God’s purposes for us.

9. Fasting BUILDS our spiritual muscles so that we can overcome the passions of our soul (temptations).

10. Fasting is a CHOICE we get to make, realizing how beneficial it is for our spiritual lives.

11. Fasting is NOT an ‘optional’ spiritual discipline. Jesus says ‘when’ you fast, not ‘if’ you fast. St. Matthew 6:16–18

12. It is a COMMANDMENT of Christ. If we love God, we will obey His commandments. St. John 14:15

13. Fasting helps us gain CLARITY of thought.

14. SPIRITUAL WARFARE is connected with the disciplines of fasting and prayer. Mark 9:28–29

15. Fasting is a CHOICE to ‘give up’ certain things so as not to ‘give in’ to certain other things (temptations). St. Matt 4: 1-11

16. Fasting is a physical way of SUBMITTING OUR DESIRES to that which is holy.

17. Fasting tells our body that we are not SLAVES to its desires and needs.

18. Fasting helps us OVERCOME strong temptations.

19. Fasting is a visible sign of REPENTANCE – Ex: Nineveh Fast, Jonah 3:5–9, King David, 2 Samuel 12:15–17

20. The GOAL of fasting within the church context is to come closer to Jesus.

21. Do not become PROUD of your spiritual discipline of fasting; rather, be humble.

22. Fasting from food and not being a slave to our appetites are disciplines that should not be IGNORED in our spiritual development.

23. Feeling tired while fasting is expected. But drink lots of WATER. This will keep you hydrated and fresh.

24. When you fast, you will feel HUNGRY. It is a way to identify with the millions who go hungry each day.

26. When you BREAK YOUR FAST, remember not to eat too much. Give your stomach time to adjust.

27. If you have any physical sickness or other difficulties you encounter while fasting, please see your SPIRITUAL GUIDE and seek help.

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