Do not fast with the flesh, but be moved by the Spirit into fasting. Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to fast.

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him”

Because He was led by the Spirit and not by His flesh, He was empowered to overcome the temptations that confronted Him. As Christians, we ought to be led by the Spirit or allow the Spirit to take over our spirit when we embark on prayer and fasting.

Fasting is not just a mere denial of oneself from food or drink or anything that is of the flesh, but also, a time to dedicate that moment solely for God and within God’s environment. There is time for everything on earth. The time to devote for God must be strictly for Him. Not a time to bombard yourself with food, not a time to attend a party, not a moment to drive by a fast-food corridor or a time for you to drop at liquor store to buy soda. Fasting time is to restrict every movement away from what the devil will take advantage of.

Let’s look at the three temptations the devil put before Jesus

  1. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.  The tempter came to him and said “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”
  2.  Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone

  1. Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me”.

Looking at the temptations, everything that the devil tempted Jesus with is within the power of Jesus to provide. The food which is the restorer of strength and power in our body, He provides; the highest point of the temple which represents the highest position on earth and in heaven belongs to Jesus; and all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor are also His. Why then should Jesus bow to the devil to get what belongs to Him?

One of the areas the devil takes advantage of is when a Christian embarks on fasting and prayer, the devil wants to rob the Christian of their expected blessing by making them to satisfy the things of the flesh. If we Christians would get the understanding of these temptations, we will not fall into any temptation (trap of the devil), you don’t go into fasting with the flesh, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. In that way, the Spirit will at that moment of temptation empower you to discern right.

There is always that urge in a man/woman to move pass the right time of life or to push aside the right thing to do or to incline doing that which is wrong. What the flesh does is to satisfy this urge without minding the consequence. If our Lord Jesus had not been moved into the wilderness by the Spirit, what would have happened? Would He bow down to the devil? But because He did not, He was given all powers over all creations?

Beware of these three quests

The three temptations represents the three most quests of man on earth and desirously will do anything to get it. If not seek righteously pursued, man will worship the devil to get it. Man or woman likes

1)      Food

2)      Position/Authority

3)      Money/wealth

I can reason with many Christian groups, each time they want to embark on general prayer and fasting, they go to a secluded area where these three quests are far away from them so that they can concentrate on being before God without any distraction.

If Jesus had fallen to the devil’s temptation, the devil would have had an edge over His ministry. Refusing to bow down for the devil for that moment, Jesus had a successful ministry and today, He is the provider and sustainer of all our needs and wants. When you are led by the Spirit to fast or allow the Spirit to take over your spirit when you fast, the Holy Spirit will not only guide you during the fasting period but also after it.

Learning from Jesus’ discuss

We need to learn from one of Jesus’ discusses, “Do not worry” (Luke 12:22-31). What Jesus rejected and refused to bow down for are things that human being is running after -  What to eat, what to wear, house to live, car to drive, career to be famous, money, position; anxious about all things.

You don’t have to worship any demon, man or any abstract to get all you need or want. God had already made the provisions there. However, when you request for these things in prayer and fasting, what is your motive?. When you fast, are you doing it to fulfill God’s purpose or your own ulterior motive?

For our Lord Jesus, being led by the Spirit, shows that He was led to be empowered to fulfill God’s purpose that He came into the world to do. When the devil failed, the scripture stated “Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him”

Has an angel minister to you during your recent fasting program? Or has there been any residue effect of the Holy Spirit upon your life besides being under Him during the fasting period? Just as our Lord Jesus demonstrated, do the main thing first; other things will fall in place for you. The scripture confirms,

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt.6:33).

Children of God, when you pray and fast, make sure you are led by the Holy Spirit or submit your spirit under the power of the Holy Spirit when you are not led. Three things must come to mind when you embark on prayer and fasting. Firstly, you want to build a strong relationship with God in His presence. Secondly, make sure your request is genuine without any hidden motive than fulfilling the purpose of God. Thirdly, let your request be for empowerment to do the will of God.

By Lawrence Abitogun

Related posts:

  1. Flesh-and-Blood Jesus: Learning to Be Fully Human from the Son of Man
  2. Guarding against Lustful Temptation Part 7; Prayer bulletin for Year 2014
  3. Patience and God’s steady growth produce success
  4. Walk in the Spirit

About the Author

Lawrence B. Abitogun, called by the special grace of the Almighty God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by the empowerment of the Holy Ghost, witnessing and preaching the gospel to the world, was born to a Christian parents at Uso, Ondo state, Nigeria. He received his elementary and secondary education in Nigeria from 1959-1971. He obtained a Bachelor degree in Fine Arts and a Master of Science in Industrial Arts at North Texas State University, Denton TX USA in 1979 and 1982 respectively.

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