Feb 22, 2018
A traditional part of Lent is fasting. For Christians, it is an essential act that we sometimes choose to take on, and at other times are required to do by the Church. Why is fasting so important and so central to this time? Consider two events in the Bible: the sin of Adam and Eve, and the fast of Jesus in the desert.
Humanity's fall away from God began with eating. He had proclaimed a 'fast' from the fruit of only one tree, and yet Adam and Eve chose to eat. Food perpetuates life in this world, but we are made for more than this world. By eating, in contradiction to a relationship of dependence on God and obedience to His command, Adam and Eve declare their independence and essentially put their faith in food. They are staking their dependence on this world.
On the other hand, we have the example of Jesus, who is the "new Adam" When tempted, our Lord gave an altogether different answer to the question: "on what does your life depend?" He says clearly: "Man does not live by bread alone."
Our fasting is the means by which we can recover our true spiritual nature, and answer that question with Jesus. Whereas our fallen human nature tends to say we are wholly dependent on the things of this world, fasting reminds us that we do not live on bread alone. It can be difficult at times, and our own weakness might make us doubt our ability, but the choice to deny ourselves some small pleasure in food is ultimately our choice to turn away from the sin of our first parents and place our trust in the God Who saves us.