Matthew 4:4 (NLT) Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. 3 During that time the devil[a] came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”4 But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”
In the beginning of New Year fasting is practiced by various religions and faiths. The Power of Biblical Fasting -Biblical fasting is always about abstaining from food, not refraining from activities such as using Facebook or watching television. Biblical fasting means refraining from all food or certain foods for a spiritual purpose for a limited period of time. The Hebrew word for “fast” is tsôwm (twoom), which means “to cover the mouth.” The Greek word for fast is nēstěuō (nace-tyoo-o), which means “to abstain from food.” The other real challenge here is to include not only foods but patterns and routines such as Facebook or television in the fast of foods!
A fast is a highly focused period of time when we examine our lives and seek to align ourselves with the ways of God (Spiritual formation). We do this by separating ourselves from our typical patterns and routines and entering a spiritual experience for a given time. Fasting is a spiritual discipline and the practice has tenets that we want to follow so we can be assured a successful experience.
Fasting is temporary, which means it’s doable. Setting aside a specific and limited amount of time for fasting sharpens our focus on God. We then can enter more deeply into the Lord’s truths. As we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit and purpose ourselves to learn from Him, our Father is able to minister to us as His precious children.
The spiritual power we experience through fasting is a mystery. In the Bible, the term “mystery” refers specifically to insights and truths we understand only when God reveals them directly to our spirit. When we fast, we fully surrender ourselves to God: spirit, soul, and body. We submit our will to God, follow a set of guidelines about food, and open our hearts to this mystery. God miraculously uses our submission to strengthen us, empower us, fill us, and change us. We get a taste of what Jesus meant when He said, “You are in me, and I am in you” (John 14:20). When we fast we focus more of our attention on God through prayer and study.
Lastly, one can pray without fasting, but you cannot fast authentically without praying. Without this spiritual dimension, a fast would be no different than a typical diet. But since a fast is first a spiritual experience, made to draw us closer to God; we are not dieting. Instead, we are placing ourselves into holy submission. On a diet, we might occasionally cheat or fail to keep the promises we made to ourselves. But a fast is different. Because when we fast, we are partnering with God for a spiritual outcome. We are expecting the Lord to impact our lives, so we maintain our commitment to Him without wavering.
Point to ponder- Truly, the call deep within us beckons not for physical food or pleasures. What our souls are truly hungry for is the Bread of Life, the Lord who said, “People do not live by bread alone” (Matthew 4:4).
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Pastor James Baker, Jr.
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