Reasons e5 Men Decided to Fast (List #10)
“To support my wife in her daily life”
“To make me the best I can be for who needs me”
“To become closer to Christ, and grace for my wife”
“I have Ephesians 5:25 inscribed on my wedding band”
“I need to increase my purity and chastity for God”
“To be more selfless toward my wife.”
“Continued growth in faith and pursuit of my vocation”
The Ancient War
By Steven C. Habisohn, e5 Founder
"The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." Mathew (26:41)
Isn't that the truth!
We all experience this reality. Not being able to control our impulses. Not being able to pass up that extra piece of cake, sexual addiction, excessive television, impulse buying and on and on. The problem all started at the fall of man. Adam sinned and man's integration between soul and body became damaged. Whereas the body was to be subservient to the sprit, the body is, as St. Paul says, "at war" with the will. In short, the body and its passions are fighting for headship over the person. When the flesh wins, the person, and all those he or she supposedly loves lose.
CHRIST THE KING
However we can turn to Christ and see how a proper integration of soul to body is supposed to work. Jesus was a king. We have always heard that. But what was he the king of? Obviously everything, but first he was king of himself. He was perfectly integrated in his relationship between his soul and body. Although he had bodily appetites and passions they were at the service of his will and sought not be the head of the person. If he was not the king of his passions he could never have prayed three times at Gethsemane,
"My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will." (Mathew 26:39)
DISCIPLES BLOW IT
It is interesting that during this prayer in Gethsemane, which showed Jesus' kingship over his body, he approached his disciples who did not have kingship over their bodies. They could not even stay awake while their master was suffering even "sorrow [unto] death". He needed their love but their bodies were their kings and they were unable to love Jesus simply by staying awake. Their fleshly passions won. It is precisely at this point when Christ says to them,
"The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" (Mathew 26:41)
Fasting is the Christian way to enter the war for the kingship of the person, fighting against one of the effects of original sin. Who will rule in your person? The soul or the fleshly passions? It is not that the flesh is bad but that the flesh must be subservient to the soul.
Ultimately the body is meant to be the currency of love. The body is the means in which we love and give ourselves away. If the body is the king it will produce a self-centered person addicted to their passions. However, if the soul is king it produces little Christs - those that are able to give their bodies away in love even unto death on a cross.
E5 MEN BECOME VICTORIOUS KINGS
Fasting begins to reestablish the proper hierarchy of soul over body. In being properly reoriented in this way we are then able to love rightly in other areas of our life. We are able to turn off the TV, not lust, or perhaps simply stay awake when someone needs us. The e5 fast helps orientate us even more towards love because the fast is literally a bodily gift for another. It is not merely the practice of the kingship of the soul over the flesh, but, because Jesus empowers our sacrifice, it becomes an actual gift of the body itself, making the fast not only the battle but the victory too!
THE WHOLE TEXT (MATHEW 26:37-45)
37 He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. 38 Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me." 39 He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will." 40 When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." 42 Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, "My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!" 43 Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. 44 He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again. 45 Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners."