A Dangerous imitation

The founder Pastor Francisco Barajah, 39 years of Santa Trindade Evangelical Church, city of Beira, Mozambique wanted to imitate Lord Jesus Christ. On the 25th day of his 40 day fast, he had lost weight and was not even able to get up. He was rehydrated with serums and given liquid foods but died. (BBC News 16 February 2023) A young pastor who did this on his own strength, perhaps to impress his followers, died miserably.

Fasting discipline: For Christian life, fasting is a good discipline. Jewish religious leaders like Pharisees fasted twice a week. (Luke 18:12) When it was reduced to a ritual or tradition, God rejected it. (Isaiah 58) When Jonah preached in the city of Nineveh, the whole city population repented and demonstrated their repentance by three days of fasting. (Jonah 3:5) many in the Bible fasted including Moses, Esther, Nehemiah, Daniel, and others. Some in politics use fasting to protest injustice or oppression.

Foolish Fast: Some leaders want to show their spiritual piety by declaring fast. A good example: The first king of Israel declared fast, for the whole nation, that God may take vengeance against Saul’s enemies. That too when the army was engaged in the battle against the Philistines. (I Samuel 14:20) How could an army fight with empty stomachs?

When you fast: Lord Jesus Christ taught us not to show off fasting as a spirituality or display a superhero image before people. Fasting should be done in secret, for the God who hears in secret may reward openly. (Matthew 6:17,18)

Fasting to attain power: Some religions give importance to fasting as a penance (tapasya). Those who do such fasting gain mystic power and could control or manipulate other people. The Bible does not teach fasting as means to get power.

Real fasting: Fasting intends to repent, demonstrate humility, and submit to the will of God. Isaiah states that true fasting is loose bonds of wickedness, providing bread to the hungry, housing the homeless, breaking all yokes of oppression, and setting them free. (Isaiah 58:6-7)

Am I involved in real fasting?