Today I start a new series entitled, “The Benefits of Prayer and Fasting,” under the banner of the overall series for the year: “Expectation.” Yesterday we looked at the following passage. Let’s go back to it today.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 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. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
(see Luke 4 and Matthew 4)
So what does this mean to you today? A few things.
1. Jesus responded to temptation with the Word of God.
a) While Jesus fasted, he was tempted by satan. As we fast, we too will be tempted. To overcome the temptations, Jesus used the Word of God. He was tempted three times and all three times He responded with the Word. The Word of God is the only offensive weapon in the six pieces of the Armor of God listed in Ephesians 6. The Word of God is the Sword of the Spirit. When you open your mouth and respond to attacks from the enemy with the Word of God, you are responding to spiritual attacks with a spiritual weapon. This is how Jesus overcame, and it will be how we overcome.
b) You cannot respond to an attack from satan with the Word of God if you do not have the Word down in your heart. While Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness, He did not have a Bible with Him. He had to rely on the Word that was hidden down in His heart. As a believer, you will be attacked routinely, and you are at a severe disadvantage if you do not have God’s Word down in your heart. If you have to go look for your Bible or search for a scripture on the internet, every time you need a “Word,” you are going to struggle. David said, “I have hidden Your Word down in my heart. So I will not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11). You have to get the Word down in your heart and meditate/medicate on it, day and night. This way, when the attacks come (and they will), you will be prepared to respond with God’s Word.
2. While Jesus was fasting, He was sustained by meditating God’s Word and performing His will.
a) The devil knew Jesus was hungry while He was fasting. So satan said, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Satan will always attempt to cause you to question your identity. Because if you know who you are, you won’t succumb to His attacks. Jesus knew who He was, so He did not address the identity issue. But He did address the hunger issue. Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 and said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Jesus was saying that while He was fasting, He was being sustained; not by natural bread, but by spiritual Word.
b) In John 4, Jesus had an encounter with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well while His disciples went into town to buy lunch. When they got back they offered Jesus some of the lunch. He did not want any. They begged Him and said, “Master, please eat something.” To which Jesus replied, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” The disciples had no clue of what Jesus was talking about. They asked each other, “Do you think someone else has brought him any food?” To which Jesus responded, “My food is doing the will of him who sent me. My food is to finish the work that he gave me to do.” (John 4:31-34). Jesus had natural needs for food and water like every other human. But He did not make food His focus. He received sustenance and fulfillment by meditating on God’s Word and by performing God’s will. While we are fasting, we should learn from Jesus. When we give our attention to performing God’s will and meditating/medicating on His Word, He will sustain as we fast.
c) While the disciples were focused on food, Jesus was focused on God’s will. When you fast, you have the opportunity to take the time you would have normally given to meal preparation and consumption, and give that time over to the things of God. Jesus never expected anyone to go without eating forever. But He surely expected His followers to follow His example. The will of the Father is more important than a meal, and at times the Holy Spirit will lead you to skip a meal, or a series of meals, in order to give your attention to the weightier matters in life. This is what fasting is about.
Father, this is a season of expectation for me. To prepare myself for the Harvest I believe You have ordained for such a time as this, I meditate and medicate on Your Word day and night. I hide Your Word in my heart. This way, when the attacks come, I have Your Word “at the ready,” and I am able to respond with the Sword of the Spirit. Additionally, I spend time fasting in this season. As I do, I live every day focused on performing Your will in the earth. By meditating on Your Word and seeking to perform Your will daily, I am able to fast and remain focused. I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!