Monday, December 11, 2017

Tis the season for ….. “Fasting”?

Post by: Frank Oligmuller

In this joyous season of celebrating the birth of Jesus, we find many opportunities involving the flow of food, drink and other goodies – so why have the thought of Fasting? Isn’t that something we think more of doing during Lent? On the other hand – why not this time as well? Maybe that is a bold idea, but let’s ponder for a bit.

During the Advent season, many get caught up in chasing the spirit of the season by the lure of advertising and promotions thrown at us. But, what needs are we really trying to fulfill. My small group recently studied the aspects of Private Discipline for which Fasting was an example to build on our journey to deepen/grow our faith. Fasting is presented in the bible as a practice to abstain from food while focusing our attention to being fed by God’s word. The main purpose is to realize an ability to be sustained by Him and grow our spiritual relationship to always trust. Jesus displayed this during his time of temptation in Matthew 4:4 “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone. But on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” In addition, there are cases where reference is made in letters by Paul as having to go without food for a period of time. But, there is also occasional mention on having to endure other hardships, distresses including sleepless nights as ways to endure and put our reliance on God. As our group discussed fasting, we thought to extend this idea into more than just food. Fasting is definitely the idea, as well as by definition, to abstain from food – buy why only apply food? During the Old and New Testament times, food (whether in fields or livestock) and money were the most coveted of possessions for showing wealth and/or power. Thereby, the example of fasting with food was clearly understandable to those in that time to remove a coveted need of the flesh for focusing on God. And as a secondary outcome of fasting, it can be revealed to us other weaknesses of things that control us other than our faith in God.

Today, food and money are still very much in the mix on how we strongly rely on them. However, though we find a need for food, its possession does not constitute wealth but mostly a need to survive. We now have many other examples of possessions that can convey affluence and wealth – types of cars, latest cell phones, TVs, social media popularity, etc. And, particularly this time of season, there can be added distractions around in getting this, getting that or going here and going there.

So, it is with that idea and thought as why not abstain from our other kind of dependencies each of us find that we feel are needed to sustain us during the day or night. I am sure each of us can find a type of “food” analogy that we feel is needed to sustain us throughout the day/night. Pick your “food” to find a “Silent Night” or “Silent Day” or both. All that said, the challenge to seek what is your “food” is to abstain from during this time of year. And, truly focus to deepen your understanding on the gifts given to us by God with the birth of His Son Jesus. HOPE, JOY, PEACE and above all else LOVE. We may find how they can sustain us and be fruitfully a more highly valued possession.

Have a most Joyous and Merry Christmas.

I grew up in the states of Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. After finishing my Computer Science degree at University California - Irvine, I eventually moved back to Colorado with my wife. Over the past 32 years, I have worked in both the aerospace and commercial industries with my degree getting many opportunities to grow in my professional life. However, there always seemed a gap in the growth of my spiritual life. That gap has began to fill measurably since my attendance and involvement at BUMC for which I praise God to have brought us at a key time of our lives. Outside major interests include playing hockey, but time and the physical ability has been an increasing challenging, planning a yearly 14er climb and trips to Disney - most favorably - Walt Disney World. However, I love spending anytime and anywhere with my wife, family and friends. All the while - inviting Christ with me.

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