This week I have the privilege of being a part of my churches 35 Day spiritual journey prior to Easter. During the next 35 days we hope to draw closer to Jesus, and will learn more about God’s Holiness both collectively as a church, and each of us individually. I am really looking forward to my time with the Lord, and must admit it seems fitting at this point in my life. I pray that I will draw closer to Jesus, and stand in awe of Him. During this time I will spend more time in Scripture, read daily devotionals, and begin a lifestyle fast.
Fasting during this season is nothing new for me. I grew up Catholic were it was traditional to give up something for Lent. During this time we also had to abstain from meat on Fridays. I can honestly say that I never drew closer to Jesus in all of the years I practiced this ritual. It was just something we did like everyone else. Of course, I was not in Christ growing up, and looking back now can understand why it did not make any difference.
Now that I have a relationship with the Lord I can use this time in a way that leads me to a deeper level, and meaning. I have chosen to fast from bread because it is a symbol of my fleshly lust, food. I love bread, I crave it, and in it’s various forms is very satisfying. But I don’t want something as temporal as bread to sustain me. I want Jesus to sustain me. I began to think about how we draw fasting for Lent from the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert being tempted by Satan.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’ ” (Matthew 4:1-4)
Jesus was totally dependent of God the Father. Jesus wanted us to understand that being spiritually fed by the Word of God was more significant than meeting our physical needs. Scripture being our sustenance has a eternal impact whereas food is just temporary relief of hunger. It is based on this passage of Scripture that I felt led to fast from bread.
I know that it won’t be easy, and that temptation will abound. While there are health benefits to this fast, the only thing that matters is that I draw closer to God through my relationship with Jesus Christ. This is about time with my Heavenly Father, and becoming more aware of His Holiness. I know that I am a depraved man, and that I cannot make myself holier. At the end of this 35 days I cannot take any credit for what I have accomplished. I can only complete this season through the power that God gives me. It is only by His grace & mercy that I can do anything.
It is not about what I do, it is about what Jesus did! I only get the blessing to be chosen by Him, to know Him, to love Him, to walk with Him, and strive to be like Him! To Jesus be the glory!