by Erin Bird
This past Sunday, I challenged all of us to fast at least one day from something that we have been putting before God – something that we have sort of made our “king” instead of letting Jesus be King of our hearts.
Chances are you have already fasted or are currently fasting. If so – I prayed for you! But if you haven’t, let me encourage you to use today, tomorrow, or Saturday to give up something for at least one day to remind yourself that Jesus is to be your King, not attention, not possessions, not another person, not your job, not your phone… nothing.
“Thanks a lot, Erin!”
What I didn’t take much time to talk about was the temptations that would come when you fast. Anytime you give up something you are accustomed to having on a regular basis, your body or mind will go for that item out of habit because you have been serving THAT more than serving Jesus.
Just look at Christ’s period of fasting a couple of chapters before the passage we’ve been studying during this #Unexpected series. Right after being baptized in Matthew 3, we see Jesus take off for some alone time. But it isn’t just to get some “me” time, or to hang out with His Dad. Matthew 4:1 states clearly why Jesus headed off into the wilderness.
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
(Matthew 4:1, emphasis mine.)
The reason Jesus fasted for 40 days and spent the entire time in isolation was to be tempted by Satan. And boy, did Satan ever try to trip Jesus up! He went after the big ones. First he went for Jesus’s hunger pangs (“turn this stone into bread…”), then he questioned Jesus’ identity (“if you are the Son of God…”), then he offered power and prestige (“I will give you all of these nations if you worship me…”).
But after each temptation, Jesus responded with Scripture. And I think we should do the same.
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[list_item]If you are fasting from food, turn to Scripture at each hunger pang.[/list_item]
[list_item]If you are fasting from social media, open your Bible instead of Facebook.[/list_item]
[list_item]If you are fasting from your phone, put a small New Testament in your pocket instead of your iPhone.[/list_item]
[list_item]If you are fasting from TV, make sure your Bible is on the coffee table instead of the remote.[/list_item]
Because I promise you, you will be tempted. And the longer you decide to fast, the more intense the temptation will be.
Just as Satan left Jesus (Matthew 4:11), there comes a moment…
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[list_item]when the hunger pangs actually ease,[/list_item]
[list_item]where you don’t reach for your pocket every ten seconds to check your phone,[/list_item]
[list_item]when you habitually reach for your Bible instead of the remote,[/list_item]
And THAT’S when you know you are truly letting Jesus be your King of your heart.
So fight through the temptation by resting upon Jesus through His Word.