When to binge when to fast


Noun: A short period of time devoted to indulging in an activity to excess, especially drinking alcohol or eating.


Noun: A movement of willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or other activities, for a set period of time.

You and I are living in a “bingeing” culture wherein excessive indulgence is the norm. We’ve even coined a new social term called “binge-watching” to describe how we devour new TV programs as they become available on Netflix or other outlets. We binge-watch TV programs, we binge-eat sugar, we binge-drink alcohol, and we pursue our entertainment and leisure times with a bingeing level of fervor.

It’s not how we were designed to live. Although I too love binge-watching a really great show, and having days where I eat McDonald’s for breakfast, nachos for lunch, and pizza for dinner, the level of bingeing in our society is both out-of-bounds and unhealthy.

From a Scriptural, God-ordained perspective, we humans were designed to live lives of moderation marked by times and seasons of both feasting and fasting. Moderation calls us to discipline and restraint—two virtues that are essential for long-term health and excellence; fasting allows us to re-boot both our physical and spiritual lives; and feasting allows us to celebrate God’s goodness and supply.

Unfortunately in a bingeing culture like ours all three of those elements get lost. Moderation gives way to the pendulum swings of excessive bingeing and crash dieting; fasting gives way to instant gratification; and the joy of feasting gets lost because we are already fully satiated.

There really is a better way to live and I think we need to rediscover it. I think we should engage in a binge fast, wherein we willingly reduce or abstain from some or all of our bingeing activities for a set period of time. Remember the Apostle Paul’s words from 1 Corinthians 6:12 “I have the right to do anything…but not everything is beneficial. I have the right to do anything, but I will not be mastered by anything.”

Eating pizza and binge-watching a really great show can be a perfectly valid form of occasional reprieve; however, to the degree that any form of bingeing has gained any level of mastery in our lives we need to fast. We need to renounce its control over us, retrieve command of our lives, and enjoy the beauty and cleanness of a life of moderation.

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