by Kevin P Emmert
"In Scripture, we see that fasting is a sign of sorrow over sin (Deut. 9:9, 18; 10:10; Ezra 10:6), a sign of repentance (1 Sam. 7:6), and an aid to prayer (Ezra 8:21–23; Acts 13:2–3). This discipline of abstinence, therefore, is often described as a way to grow closer to God. It prompts us to recognize our weakness and sinfulness, and it tangibly reminds us of our constant need for God’s grace and strength.
"Lent is also a time to imitate Christ and participate in his life in concrete ways. Lent, after all, commemorates Christ’s 40-day fast in the wilderness. For many, it is a spiritual journey whereby we identify with Christ, hoping to become more like him.
"All that is good, but many wonder if this hyperfocus on personal holiness is always healthy. Could it not turn into so much navel gazing? Perhaps we’ve lost sight of a vital aspect of Christ’s wilderness fast.
"If we want to truly imitate Christ’s fast and participate in his life these 40 days, perhaps we should consider fasting for the sake of others..."