Youth Discussion Topic “Fasting” Why the topic of fasting? • Our youth are faced with myriads of challenges. It could be in the communities where they live, at schools, or in the institutions of higher learning, or even among communities of faith. • During the time of academic examinations some youth who do not belong to our faith would want to convince others to “fast” in order for them to do well in their examinations. Fasting in this instance is seen as a certain expression of faith in order to attract success or prosperity. What is the Biblical view of fasting? Fasting in the Old Testament • The Day of Atonement (Hebrew, Yom Kippur) is the only fast prescribed by the Old Testament. • After the Exile, additional fasts were introduced. • In addition, there were individual and corporate fasts. Fasting was also an expression of grief and penitence. It was a way by which people could humble themselves or as a way to secure guidance and help from God. • The prophets declared that without right conduct fasting was in vain (Isaiah 58:5-12; Jeremiah 14:11-12). Fasting in the New Testament • In the New Testament, fasting is also recognised as an act of piety. • Fasting in the New Testament is neither prescribed nor prohibited. In the Bible, however, fasting with “ulterior motives” is condemned. Positively, fasting is often associated with prayer, and is primarily aimed at deepening our relationship with God, or to build the church. • In the New Testament, we have also come to know more about Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the living God, who brought grace and understanding of God’s love to mankind. • The rebirth out of water and the Holy Spirit is the foundation for our being children of God and we demonstrate our worthiness through corresponding conduct. What is the New Apostolic position on fasting? The New Apostolic position on fasting • We recognise profound teaching from our various Chief Apostles and their remarks on the topic. Spiritually, fasting refers to: • Exercising restraint in relation to many spiritual offers of our time; • Abstaining from activities, thoughts and attitudes which are displeasing to God; • Abstaining from things which originate from a different spiritual source. • Showing kindness to one’s neighbour in need (cf. Matthew 25:34-46) The New Apostolic position on fasting • In conclusion, our youth is advised to adhere to the common tradition of our faith by obeying and aligning their good conduct with the teaching of Jesus Christ as per the guidance from our various Chief Apostles. Fasting and spiritual acts of piety should not be abused for natural gain. • What is very important is that we utilize the opportunity of grace found during the absolution in divine services in order to attract divine favour from God. Such an attitude will lead us confidently to a fulfilled life and towards the Day of the Lord.