Open to the Spirit

The Importance of Fasting

This devotional is written by Beck Rodda. Beck is an actor, director and writer.

Luke 4:1-4

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

4 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.
3 The devil said to him, "If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread."
4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone.'"
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. 6 And he said to him, "I will give you all their authority and splendour; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. 7 If you worship me, it will all be yours."
8 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'"
9 The devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down from here. 10 For it is written:
"'He will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you carefully;
11 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'"
12 Jesus answered, "It is said: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
13 When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
14 Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.

The importance of fasting...

We see examples of fasting throughout the bible, from Moses, Daniel and Esther in the Old Testament to Paul, Peter and of course Jesus here in the New Testament.

I am struck that here, Jesus, who is the Son of God, knows and has experienced the power of temptation. This account shows us how Jesus followed His Father and teaches us how we can follow Him in obedience too.

The Spirit leads Jesus into the wilderness after his baptism, where he is completely alone and experiences immense spiritual attack. I can't quite comprehend the mental and physical resilience, discipline and trust Jesus would have needed to keep his focus fixed on the Father.
Here Jesus fasted and prayed when faced with a time of intense spiritual need (verse 2). He fasts as a way to serve God, to resist temptation, seek revelation and to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and sent out to His public ministry (verse 14)

In C.S Lewis' 'The Screwtape Letters', Screwtape, a senior devil and teacher, delivers a lecture to his pupils on the dangers of a Christian persisting in following God during the troughs of faith and life. "And I'll tell you this: our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to obey, looks round the universe from which all trace of Him seems to have disappeared, and still obeys."
C.S Lewis' angle and insight suggests we can use fasting and prayer as a type of spiritual armour of protection and power, between us and the temptations around us as we live out our Christian faith.

Often when we have a big task or day ahead, our world response, our go-to is a large meal for strength. However, Jesus turns this on its head. He fasts and is immersed in His strength and power.

Whatever you may choose to fast - food, social media etc - it's an opportunity to make space to pray and spend time in His presence being strengthened.

Where do you desire God's revelation in your life? What area do you need strengthening in? Is there something you could you do with God’s clarity on?

Lord Jesus, we pray for your revelation, trust, power and fulfilment as we fast and pray in your name. Amen.

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