Most people understand that fasting is a principle practiced by many religions, yet many of us do not understand the true spiritual aspect of a fast. For the most part, we understand the denial effect it has on our mind; the cleansing effect it has on our body; and, some of the discipline it offers practitioners. However, we really do not understand how it trains us spiritually.
One of the most poignant scenes outlined in our Bible is found in Matthew chapter 4, where Jesus, after fasting in the wilderness for forty days, is tempted by the devil.
It is interesting to note that, the devil chose to launch his attack when Jesus appeared to be at His weakest, physically, mentally, and spiritually. As Christians, we have to believe that Jesus knew his adversary was coming, just as He knew about all the other events that would unfold during His time in physical form. So why inflict a forty-day fast at this particular time? Why be physically weak when you know your adversary is planning to attack? Why choose to be separated from those who truly love you, when you seemingly need them the most? Think about this for a moment.
Jesus understood that fasting gives us spiritual strength and power over temptation. It solidifies our spiritual power over the mind and body, allowing us to access strength supernaturally. It trains the body and mind to understand that we are not under the control of our urges, whims, habits, or needs. It is acknowledgment that we are spiritual beings whose soul relies on God for replenishment, not our environment.
I know what you are thinking. “I can’t go without eating for even one day; much less 40 days. I need food!” I truly understand; after three days, I too am looking for food in all the wrong places. But try to understand this. It is not the food that you should be mindful of, it’s the discipline. The discipline of fasting controls temptation. It enables you, empowered with spiritual strength, the ability to withstand even the most basic need over temptation. A need so powerful, it goes back to before your small body left the womb. A need so potent, when you were born, you cried for it non-stop, and didn't even know its name. –Food.
The power of fasting is to teach your body how to listen to you, and not the other way around. When the body tells you that you are hungry, starving, and ready to pass out; you tell the body that it has enough plump to fast another day. When the body tells you that you need a steak, burger, or meat by-product, if not you will die; you tell the body, one more steak, burger, or meat by-product, and you will die. Your body’s primal need relinquishes its control to you, not the other way around. It learns to accept denial, cleansing, and discipline from you in obedience. And in turn, you relinquish your body, mind, and spirit to God. L.
Study Reference: Ephesians 6:10, Matthew 4
From: "Strength or Weakness." In The Master's Hands: 365 Daily Devotions For Everyday Living.
Copyright © 2014 by Lavona E. Campbell