Some demons can be cast out, Jesus instructed his disciples in Mark 9:29, only through prayer and fasting. It’s a teaching on the power of temporary, voluntary self-denial to energize us and focus our intention.
I relearned this during a time in my life when I was fasting once a week for a specific prayer concern. Though I envisioned enduring hours of hunger pangs, dazily dreaming of Oreos, Doritos and ice cream, I was pleasantly surprised to miss the food only a little. And far from feeling weak, I actually felt strong and centered.*
By doing without I learned how little of what I consume I actually need for nutrition. I saw the degree to which my incessant nibbling and snacking arose out of pure habit, and not real hunger.
As an experiment, I expanded this to my consumer life, setting aside “financial fasting” days when I would simply buy nothing. When there arose an everyday need or want that would normally send me to the store — say, for something I thought I needed for a recipe, a cup of coffee or soft drink while “on the road,” or just to “stop by” any store for whatever — I resisted. I put the brake on impulse buying.
The lesson? A good chunk of the money I spend is just frittered away on junk I don’t really need, or even really want.
At the end of the financial fast, I felt focused, more powerful and in control of my spending. Some demons can be cast out only with prayer and fasting. For stewards, maybe financial fasting is a way to cast out the demon of overconsumption.
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