By Pastor Joe BalaaN
Matthew 4:1-11 says: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “ ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’ ” Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.”
Fasting is a long-forgotten discipline not anymore practiced by many Christians. But why do you have to observe this? In the last days, the character of Christians in the last days will be weak. The truth will be based on their feelings. If you feel good and you know you are not abusing or hurting anybody, even if what you are feeling is not based o God’s word and is not the truth, it is fine. The principle of the Bible is easy to put aside when feelings are being talked about. It is interpreted not according to how it is written or why it was written but according to how they are feeling at the moment. 2 Timothy 3: 1-6 says “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires.” Many people will pretend to be for God in the last days. And if your faith is weak, you will believe.
Fasting suppresses the flesh as well as emotions and allows God to take over your body. Matthew 24: 37-39 says “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” During the time of Noah, people were so indulged in satisfying their own selves that they did not notice the destruction that was to come. This is what was prophesied for the second coming of Jesus too, that people would be busy in their own selfish ways that they will not notice His coming too. This is the reason why their mind is not on spiritual things.
You will often see Christians who do not look like they are Christians. And vice versa. The character of believers has weakened. Christians become worldly and the world becomes searchy. It is not difficult to attend church nowadays. But during the time of the apostles, when you say you are born again, it was the beginning of difficult times for you. Christians today lack the refinement of the Christians of old, says apostle Paul. Charles Spurgeon once said, “A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats.” The pastors will just make their constituents happy in their seats.
Why are these things happening nowadays? People give so much importance to their physical well-being that they forget to feed their spiritual side. The television is full of commercials about the self. Social media is telling you to look good all the time. Time is different. It is so fast that everything is happening at lightning speed. Work, education and food is good. God made them all. But do not forget that the enemy can also use these things to make you go astray. After all, Adam and Eve were tempted by a fruit. But when God made all of these, it was good. It is when you indulge yourself in the material things around you and put your spirituality in second place that get you in trouble. That is why you need to fast. You deprive yourself when you do this.
You fast to give priority to your spirituality. Jesus fasted. When His father died, Jesus took over as the head of the family, became a carpenter to support them too. But He stopped for 40 days to give importance to His spirituality. He fasted and deprived Himself. But just like Jesus, when you fast, the enemy can still tempt you. It is a deep spiritual conviction. It is not something you do to lose weight. Matthew 9: 14-15 says, “Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.” Every believer needs to fast because Jesus said so. Jesus also said that man should not live by bread alone but by the word of God.
You fast so that the body may learn to be subjected to the Spirit. Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. The body is strong when the spirit is stronger. It is weak when you give it so much importance. The first three days of fasting is the hardest. But after that, it becomes easier. You are not really hungry. You just got used to the idea of eating all the time. You do not have spiritual strength because you are always thinking about your flesh, thus you are more prone to sinning. Your spiritual eyes are blind, not knowing the right hand from the left. Your spirit is not connected to the ultimate source of strength and that is God. Galatians 5:16 says “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Fasting makes the spirit sensitive to the voice of God.
You fast so that you can assess and elevate your level of spirituality. When you fast, you cancel the power of the enemy, just like Jesus did when He was fasting. He was able to outwit the devil and empower him. You can too when you fast. You will find out things about your spirituality that you do no know when you fast. God knows what you are capable of. But your yourself do not know that. You will know your capabilities and what you can do when you fast. Fasting is a spiritual discipline that has long been forgotten. Get to it. Hear God