When I was younger, I loved to play baseball and there was a time that my coaches tried to put me on the mound as a pitcher. They soon found out this was a mistake. To be clear, I had a pretty good arm, but my accuracy was not what you would call pin point. There was one game that I hit six batters in a row. I remember distinctly, my father asking me what are you aiming for and I remember my answer was the catcher’s glove over the plate. I didn’t care where the ball went as long as it went over the plate. The problem for me was because I wasn’t confident enough to pick a spot on the plate to throw at, I didn’t aim at all. I just threw the ball and for any pitchers out there, I can attest that doesn’t work very often.
This I believe goes hand and hand with what we have been talking about in our discussion about the Power of Routine. So, my question for you is, what are you aiming for? As a pitcher my expectation of throwing a strike was non-existent therefore I was aiming aimlessly. In our walk with Christ, often times this is how we live our lives, aimlessly trying to walk one with God like Enoch but it doesn’t work that way. That is why we must expect to grow closer to God and aim to be more like him through the Power of routine.
In review, our first week in our discussion we asked, what are your expectations with your relationship with God as we discussed the importance of reading scripture. Last week we asked, does your daily routines match your expectations as we studied the power of prayer? This week will be asking, do you want more God in your life as we study the feeding of fasting.
My prayer is that we are all aiming to grow closer to God this day, this week, this year, and every year. My prayer is that you want more of God in your life, and it is my prayer that our lives show it. This week we will be diving into the spiritual discipline of fasting. This is a discipline that I believe is becoming less and less practiced in churches today but there is an important process that takes place during fasting that I believe is important for each us.
Lets dive into this discussion by looking at Matthew 4:1-4.
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a]by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’[b]”
As we read this scripture there are a few notes I would like to point out about it. First, Jesus did not need to be tempted to help Him Grow. He was perfect in every way, however, he endured temptation both so that He could identify with us and to demonstrate His own holy, sinless character. Secondly, I would like to note that the Holy Spirit cannot tempt us but the Holy Spirit may lead us to a place where we will be tempted. This isn’t a case where we are to prove something to God (who knows all things), but to prove something to us.
In this scripture the devil tries to tempt Jesus, in his condition of 40 days of fasting. Not only does Jesus disagree with the Devil and refute but he responds with scripture by saying it is written. In his example he showcases how we should respond to temptation in our life by relying on the power of God’s Word. Jesus could have rebuked Satan and cast him away, however, he chose to fight this battle as a man so that we could imitate and identify with him.
When we are talking about fasting, we know that fasting is about starving the flesh in order to further feed our spirit. The idea behind this is that during this time of fasting, it will help the body of Christ focus their mindset on being first and foremost people of God’s Kingdom.
Tony Evans gave a wonderful illustration of what this may look like. He said “the things in your house work because of electricity. Electricity is an invisible power that gives you visible privileges. It turns the lights on, turns the TV on, turns the toaster on, and turns the oven on; all that stuff is working in your house because you’ve got one invisible power shooting through there called electricity. But none of those things work even though they have access to electricity until you switch the flip on. You’ve got to make a connection before the stuff that’s there works.”
Many of you may be asking why would anyone want to fast? The answer is simply, because it allows you to block out all the things that may be distracting us from connecting to the power source and aims are hearts towards God. If you are truly aiming to be more connected with God, then you are going to pray, read your scripture, and fast as a tool to further die to the flesh and feed your spirit. The point is your flesh isn’t going to like fasting but your spirit is yearning for it.
This morning as you pray over the power of routine that you are aiming for in your walk with God. Here are some questions that I pray you continue to dissect in your own life: What are your expectations of your relationship with God?, Does your daily routine match those expectations?, and Do you want more God in your life?
A.W. Tozer once said, “We have as much of God as we actually want.” My prayer is that for you and I we choose to want more.