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Why  Fast?
"I [Daniel] turned my face to the Lord God, seeking Him
by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes
"
Daniel 9:3
— to detach or separate choice from associated feelings! —
In Daniel's
case above, the self-denial of his fasting was simply part of his self-humbling before God, but fasting has quite commonly become seen as a way of increasing the influence of one's prayer on God – as a form of spiritual persuasion. This is a false impression.
 
 
So in Christ's time, the Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders) routinely fast twice a week,
for it was thought to 'earn merit' and therefore one could 'deserve' to be heard by God.
Luke 18:12.
 
But God cannot be manipulated and His standards are so high that nothing 'deserves' His response!
 
The value
or purpose of fasting in the Bible's presentation of the subject is as an act of self-denial to help the individual person concerned to make wise choices unaffected by the swings of human emotions.
The importance of choice cannot be overemphasised!
 
Therefore,
the protection of freedom-of-choice from overwhelming feelings, and any compulsion such as addiction, is vitally important – for it is choice alone that validates the development of moral character in each individual, which is then to be given eternal-form in each believer's resurrection body at the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. The wide-spread false idea that children are born 'morally-fallen from birth', before they have any choice, which has long been taught by some churches, is directly contradicted by the Apostle Paul, who was raised as a Jewish Pharisee, when under inspiration of the Holy Spirit he describes himself in Holy Scripture before he was old enough to know the difference between right and wrong (the "Law", Israel's 10-commandements) as –
"I was once [spiritually] alive apart from the Law,
but when the
[10] commandment came [personally], sin came alive [in selfish instincts] and I died [spiritually]
."
Choice
sets humanity apart
from the rest of
all biological life!




Romans 7:9.
Our own
physical bodies, which God formed in the beginning from the earth in common with its animal populations, carry instincts and feelings stimulated by the environment, in common with the animals over which humanity was given "dominion" to represent God. The uniqueness of humanity is its specially designed role to represent the Creator to the creation, so this common empathy feeling-base is important. But because humanity has this representative function by design, it is meant to be more than a product of its environment. So, in contrast to animals, humans have 'free-will', the capacity to make wise decisions even when personal feelings point/motivate in the opposite direction.
Fasting therefore exercises a choice to contradict the most basic of all natural feelings – hunger.
Defying the
most basic
human feeling!
On the verge of His public ministry, Jesus sought isolation in the desert and fasted there for 40-days, when He could have been preaching.
What
Jesus
tutored
His own body!
difference did this make? It was not to persuade God of anything. It was His personal human preparation for a public ministry that would often cause controversy and social conflict around Him. So, in the cross-currents of public opinion it was essential that His natural human feelings should not be permitted to influence/affect His human choices in His Spirit-led establishment of a corrective ministry to Israel and the foundation of a gospel message which His disciples were to continue after Him. Therefore –
He set the unconscious-tone within His human identity so that His human feelings fully submit to His choices.
The sinless Christ
did not need
to earn merit!
 
In this world, over which humanity was appointed to exercise God-given "dominion", feelings are a biological motivation, whether of hunger, anger or sexual attraction, in actions and responses of the creatures concerned.
 
In contrast
to this, human beings (as representing God, and therefore committed to the welfare of all that is) are meant to choose according to the objective or purpose of that choice, and not simply as an expression of personal feelings.
This will therefore frequently require contradiction of one's own feelings for the sake of the welfare of the situation.
Love frequently
requires self-denial!
 
The essential character of God is love beyond our ability to measure! Not 'love' as an expression of emotion/feelings, but love –
as an unconditional commitment to the total welfare of the one loved.
 
 
Even the existence of Hell in God's universe expresses His character, for if He had not made Hell (for the devil and his angels) anything anywhere out-of-gear with the perfect moral character of the Infinite Eternal One would suffer infinitely beyond measure, but God made Hell to limit that suffering, in His perfect justice to the individual behaviour of the being concerned, regarding their choices.
Matthew 25:41.
The
worship experience as part of a human relationship to God, as a whole-heart personal reaction to the awesomeness of God's character, is meant to tune-us-in to Him. He does not need worship!
Worship is solely for our benefit, so as to recognise His voice when He speaks and be ready to respond appropriately.
 
So, it is possible,
as a consequence of worship, that when a person is spiritually tuned-in, unconscious feelings may even become true guidance, from a direct awareness of God, but this is a side-effect of the appropriate practice of our worship relationship to Him. But without this
feelings themselves are never to be trusted.
 


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