There was a time when I felt very close with God, closer than I’ve ever felt before. So close that I would actually have conversations with God, and hear his words clearly. My eyes were opened and I could see things that others could not. I would sense his presence and see His good works in my life and the lives of others. It was almost as if he was preparing me for something. Maybe you think I’m crazy, and so did I. But if you have ever felt this feeling, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
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What’s different then than now? I was denying myself and fasting weekly. If you don’t know what fasting is, it’s the act of denying ourselves of something for spiritual purposes. I believe that when we are willing to sacrifice something as special as food, and I love food, God speaks to us in ways we never imagined. In fact, I believe that God prepares us to do great things in these times of fasting.
Lets look at Jesus for a second. In Matthew 4 Jesus is led into the wilderness by the spirit to be tested – but he never gave into temptation. The actual verse is Matthew 4:1 says, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil”.
The passage says that Jesus was led, which means he was there for a reason. He did not just get lost, he was led. And he was not alone, the Spirit was within him. As is the spirit within all of us – all of the time.
The verse tells us that Jesus was there to be tempted by the devil – a time of testing (the Greek word for tempted can also mean tested). But I also feel he was there for a time of preparation. Being tested for what was to come, being prepared for what was to come. His time of ministry.
The second verse goes onto say, “After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.” This seems to put this event into perspective of that of a great and important spiritual event. Why?. Because of the fasting. We see other examples throughout the bible of fasting in this way – being close to God and and being prepared.
Some of the examples are:
Exodus 34:38 says.
‘Moses was there with the Lord for forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.’
Acts 13 : 2-3 says.
‘While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.’
So this may confirm that this period of time where Jesus was led and fasted was not only a time of testing, but a time of preparation through being close with God. I believe Jesus was being prepared for what was to come – his time of ministry.
Everyday I feel led and tested by the devil. I think we all do right? He wants me to submit to him and make bad choices. But instead I must resist the devil and act as Jesus did. He did not submit nor fall into the traps. He stayed strong and courageous, because he was being prepared for what was to come.
I want to be as strong as Jesus, and I want to be prepared for what is to come. I have no idea what that this. However, I’m willing to fast weekly and deny myself, so that I can be close to God, feel the holy spirit, and be prepared for what is to come. God has blessed me in abundance, and I have been saved and forgiven of my sins. This is the least I can do for Him.
Discussion Question: What experiences have you had from fasting?