A couple of years ago, influenced by books I read by Richard Foster and Dallas Willard, I did a Lenten sermon series on the spiritual disciplines practiced by Jesus. It was interesting to discover the spiritual habits Jesus cultivated with his heavenly Father as he conducted his three years of public ministry. As we begin Holy Week, I want to share with you those disciplines of Jesus and consider their application for our life.
Right after Jesus begins his public ministry, we see his first spiritual habit--fasting and prayer: "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After he fasted forty days and forty nights he was famished" (Matthew 4:1-2).
Through fasting, Jesus put himself in a posture of spiritual dependence on his Father. That dependence would characterize his entire earthly ministry--and it saw him through his time of testing by the devil.
Have you ever fasted? Gone without food for a period of time for the express purpose of seeking God's face? It's a tangible way to show the Lord that you mean business with Him. It puts you in a spiritual state of mind to receive wisdom from God.
Fasting is like cupping your hands together under a running faucet in order to get cool refreshment from the Lord.
If you'll go without, you'll gain so much.
It's funny, the day I preached this sermon--about how Jesus went without food in the wildnerness--was the same day that our Women's Fellowship had scheduled a potluck dinner after the worship service! Later, as we were eating, one of our church members came up to me and said, "Pastor, I've been thinking about your sermon this morning, and I've decided what I'm going to give up for Lent. I'm going to fast from eating seconds!"