What is the difference between the alimentary fast and the spiritual one?


What is the most important for us, Christians – the alimentary fast or the spiritual one? It is known the statement “It is not important what you put into your mouth, but what comes out”, meaning that if you do, speak and think well towards your neighbor it is more important than what you eat.

What is the difference between the alimentary fast and the spiritual one?The relation between the alimentary fast and the spiritual one

When a man abstains from food for a period of time without a spiritual reason, or without having a proper spiritual condition, this is a fast that covers only the alimentary aspect and excludes the spiritual one. The Bible doesn’t give us such classification of fast, nevertheless, there are many passages in the Bible that show us that the fast that limits only to food abstention, without an attitude and a spiritual situation that is pleased to God, doesn’t have any value and it doesn’t achieve its purpose.

The lack of a correct spiritual attitude makes the fast useless

In the book of prophet Isaiah, God says that the people of Israel had the following claims to God:

‘Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’ Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, and drive hard all your workers. Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist you do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high. Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed and for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD? (Isaiah 58:3–5)(NASB)

The fast pleased to God implies a changed attitude

God says through prophet Isaiah the following:

Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (Isaiah 58:6–7)(NASB)

Fast means abstention

While I was teaching a book of the minor prophets of the Old Testament, we were studying about fast and one of the students said that if the spiritual aspect of the fast is so important, it doesn’t matter if you eat or not. It is not so. Fast means abstention and so, it necessarily implies abstention from food or even from water. But it doesn’t have any reason if it not accompanied by a humble attitude of the heart and a righteous living before God. So God may help all of us to live.

Translated by Felicia Djugostran