Why do we not now fast, as they did in the early days of the church; also in 1 Cor. 7:5? B.L.N.
Nesetia derives from ne, a negative prefix, and esthio, to eat. It indicates that the literal meaning of fasting is abstinence from food. Fasting was both individual, as in the case of the Lord Jesus (Mat. 4:2), David (2 Sam. 12:16), and Nehemiah (1:4); and also collective, as in Ez. 8:21 and Acts 13:2-3.
With this in mind, I would like to suggest what the spiritual gain of fasting is:
- It demonstrates that what sustains us is not bread alone, but every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Mat. 4:4).
- By it, we deny self daily from what is natural and practice reliance upon God. Note that fasting is always carried by prayer (Lu. 2:37).
- It is used to seek God about a special need, as seen in David, Nehemiah, Ezra, Esther, and others.
- It demonstrates God’s power being perfected in weakness (Mat. 17:21 and Ps. 109:24).
That we do not fast as in the early days of the assembly is an indication of our spiritual poverty and our lack of understanding of God’s mind as to fasting.
Much love in Christ,