The March issue of The Lutheran Witness explores the themes of fasting and temptation.
- From the President: And the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness
- Fasting Freedom — Nathan Jastram
- Tempted to Fast? — Harold Ristau
- Behind Enemy Lines — Samuel Schuldheisz
- Fasting in Modern Times — Tony Oliphant
- Fine Outward Training — Scott R. Murray
- world views: A monthly news column from Gene Edward Veith
- searching scriptures: Facing Temptation with Jesus — Peter Ill
- bene+diction: Your Sins Are Forgiven — Sean Daenzer
From the editor
My family and I recently moved back from missionary service in Asia. While there, I met with and supported churches, pastors and church leaders. At the same time, I learned from them. We who live in the West have much to learn from our Asian brothers and sisters: We can learn how to live with less.
This issue is all about living with less, voluntarily refraining from the idols and potential idols in our lives. Historically, Christians fasted from food. But fasting does not have to be limited to food only. Perhaps we struggle with the temptations of electronic devices and screens; perhaps our love of sports prevents us from patient prayer and receiving our Lord’s gifts on Sunday morning; perhaps our desire for nature keeps us from the door of God’s house on the weekend.
Our fasting does not earn us favor or grace from God; we do not gain extra merits by fasting. While there may be health benefits to fasting, we fast to mortify the sinful flesh, to put to death the idols to which we cling.
My time in Asia taught me many things. The people of Asia illuminated some idols in my Western upbringing, even while I learned some new ones from them. But the people of Asia are just like your neighbors — just like you and me. We are all sinners who turn from the true God to idols.
Apart from Christ, it is impossible to throw off our idols. But in Christ, who fasted perfectly for us, we can face the temptations and excesses of our culture and say, “not today.” As John ended his first epistle, so I encourage you, “keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21).
In His mercy,
Roy S. Askins
Managing Editor, The Lutheran Witness