afflictions Paul suffered as he was persecuted by unbelievers oruncared-for by other believers.Some Christians argue that since the Old Testament saints oftenfasted, we have to as well. But an example is not a command.Fasting is NOWHERE commanded in the Law of Moses, except that itis strongly implied as a Day of Atonement practice. Most of us areNOT Jews, and even if we were, to keep the Day of Atonement theBiblical way you’d have to offer animal sacrifices on a stone altarand completely abstain from work (Lev.23:27-32). Failure to keepALL these stipulations results in being DESTROYED from among thepeople of God. You can’t single out one Jewish custom as bindingwithout observing ALL the rest (Gal.5:3)!Many insist that we need to do our fair share of suffering todemonstrate our worthiness to be Christians, and that’s why wehave to fast. But ask any Christian who has gone through a heart-rending, protracted trial or has been severely persecuted. Even if they’re too saintly to complain about it, they’ve probably thoughtthey’ve ALREADY done their fair share of suffering! And who’s todecide how much suffering is enough to buy favor with God? Is Godso insecure in His people’s love that He needs them to starvethemselves to prove how much they love Him? Even the priests of Baal tortured their own bodies to try to gain enough approval fromtheir god to get a miracle (I Kings 18:28). But old Baal was hard of hearing. After a whole afternoon of yelling, jumping, screaming andcutting themselves, his priests never did get any fire to fall out of heaven to consume their offering. All Elijah did was to CALMLY praya very short prayer and fire fell out of the sky. Not only did Elijah’ssacrifice get nuked, the whole kitchen got vaporized!I’m reminded of one (unscriptural) cliché often spoken by awonderful man of God who was misled in this one area: The biggerthe sacrifice, the bigger the blessing. If that were true, thensacrificing a whole week’s meals might get you a brand new car,while giving up your Big Mac at lunch time will get you askateboard. Silly, isn’t it?Paul wrote the book of Galatians to fight against the influence of false brethren who tried to contaminate God’s Good News with thebad news of legalism. Even the Apostle Peter, who earlier receivedthe life-changing revelation that “he should not call any mancommon or unclean” and “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts10:28,34) caved in to legalistic peer pressure and refused to eatwith Gentile believers when the Judaizers of Antioch showed up(Gal.2:11).