Hunger Strike Vs. Fasting
The concept of a hunger strike is simple. Hunger Strikers usually withhold food from themselves as a form of non-violent protest against the injustice being done in the community. The intent is often to provoke guilt and remorse on the part of powerbrokers for the injustice being done. Hunger strikes vary across nations and communities, with the Indians practicing hunger strikes at the door of their debtor's houses, where hospitality is expected, to martyrs practicing hunger strikes in prison for injustice to be corrected in Britain. Nonetheless, the common trend is the absence of food.
Similarly, fasting is a simple concept only in the practice of food abstinence for a period of time. Fasting, often used by people of faith, is the separation from food with the intent to align closely with one's maker spiritually. Muslims fast, and Christians fast, often with similar intent (to draw close to their God), but the practice may slightly differ. At the start of a new year, many Faith-based organizations encourage their parishioners to fast, aka wait on The Lord. The expression 'to wait on The Lord" could easily be misunderstood as literarily awaiting His presence; this would be wrong. For His children are constantly in His presence. Nonetheless, waiting on The Lord is patiently awaiting His guidance, counsel, and direction on a specific issue. Though in God's presence, God may choose to be silent about a certain issue for a period of time. Waiting on His response is wise, and doing so in fasting puts the flesh away while awakening one's spirit further.
What, then, is the difference? In my opinion, INTENT, simply. For those who are fasting this January, there are three things you should make sure of if I may say:
Make sure your intentions are pure! Fasting without pure intentions is merely a hunger strike. Pure intentions wish self and others well.
Make sure you have a plan! Fasting with a plan includes knowing what to read, what to listen to, when to break, what to break with, and what exceptions you'll be making (say, weddings, birthdays, etc.), amongst other things.
Make sure you pray! What's the point of waiting on The Lord if you aren't conversing with Him?
Here's wishing you a faith-filled fast. I'm sure the extra pounds off could also come in handy for Spring Break! Best wishes,