Fasting and Spiritual Victory

 Abba John the Dwarf said, ‘If a king wanted to take possession of his enemy’s city, he would begin by cutting off the water and the food and so his enemies, dying of hunger, would submit to him.  It is the same with the passions of the flesh: if a man goes about fasting and hungry the enemies of his soul grow weak.’

—-sayings of the Desert Fathers

The assertion of the wise old man is that by learning to deprive the body, the soul can find salvation. This proposition is a great challenge in a society that prides itself in upward mobility and exceptionalism. The very idea that through suffering we can achieve victory over our spiritual foes is not one that could gain much traction in the American culture. Abba John the Dwarf’s formula for suppression of worldly passions is one that we should consider. Fasting is a widely ignored traditional and biblical concept. I believe there are great benefits to this ancient practice. We have tried all sorts of things to get closer to God. Why not try fasting?

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Filed under Ascetics, Christian Living, Desert Fathers, Fasting, Missional Living

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