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The Positivity of
—  F O C U S  —
In some communities 'self-denial' has a meritorious image as reflected in many forms of religion, as though it would earn a response from God. This is not true!
Whatever God forbids is the consequence of His love for us and for all those around us. This is God's character! To therefore not unconditionally practice personally adoration of the qualities of His infinite character, as in heart-felt worship toward Him, is demonstrably insane –
for it denies recognition of the One from whom all existence derives.
even the good ones, have commonly looked back at Israel's Ten Commandments (which represent its Sinai covenant with God that ended in the death of Jesus, Hebrews 8:13) as being good 'rules for life' and have largely ignored the teaching of Jesus to a member of their Jewish legislature, recorded for our instruction, that the only ones who will ever enter the kingdom of God are only those, who are born of the Spirit, and that for them, and only for them, there are no rules – any more than that there are 'appointed paths' for the wind (John 3:8).   Why?
At the time Jesus used it
with Nicodemus
'born of water'
referred to
Jewish proselyte baptism
the moral nature of the Spirit of God Himself (God's own love-character) has been planted within their spirit,
which is what "born-again", or "born of the Spirit" (John 3:3, 6) really means –
"No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him,
and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God

1 John 3:9.
Jesus fasted for 40-days in self-denial, so it is a good example to follow.
Yes, the Bible gives examples of normal fasting (abstaining from food), partial-fasting (abstaining from luxuries) for those carrying responsibility, and an absolute fast (on matters of life and death), but these are all voluntary.
But for what purpose, if it is not to earn God's response?
the eternal Infinite One, needs nothing and nothing can be added to Him, so nothing can ever be 'earned'. When behaviour opens the door to receive from Him it is because He considers that we can then be trusted with more, and not because it was earned.
Fasting as a form of self-denial, shown in the lives of Biblical personalities, is a practice of focus – emphasizing priorities, expressing relative values, emphasizing purpose. Fasting is saying 'no' even to the good in favour of that which is better!
It is simply an act of focus, and this is what saying 'no' on any other factor is meant to be.
See: Purpose
Saying 'no' because it is forbidden has no more merit/value than the religion of the Pharisees had in the time of Jesus.
It leads to rules-of-living which produce a false sense of religious entitlement.
Self-denial has no other value than focus!
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