In week 21 of 52 Weeks of Gratefulness, I give thanks for a quiz.
I was at Rosey Baby’s for lunch and as I was leaving I passed a table where Monica Banks was having lunch with a colleague.
She was aware that I had recently accepted my call to the ministry and she motioned for me to come to her table.
Now Mrs. Banks was constantly investing in people, looking to develop leaders in the community and trying to help them get to the next level.
She asked me a question, “What does it mean to fast?”
She was quizzing me, because, being a seasoned woman of faith and also a minister, she knew the answer better than I did.
I gave her an answer that may have been technically correct but I could sense from my delivery and from her response that it was from my head but not from my heart. It was something I thought, not something I knew.
She responded, “Thank you, Reverend. Hug Melissa and those babies for me.”
That was almost two decades ago, and since that moment I’ve been pondering her question in my heart.
Providential factors: life, seeking, surviving a crisis of faith, and reading the following passage at just the right time brought her question full circle.
“And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not.
So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”
All that God does is to make Himself known. There is not only no higher good, there is no good beside that.
It is during a fast where the cloak of our sufficiency is removed and we are confronted with the depth of our earthly dependencies to the point of idolatry. We are confronted with our reaction to withdrawal from them and the true condition of our heart from which our reactions spring.
God’s objective toward us is to perfect us so that He can shine through us, like He does through Jesus, His only begotten Son.
**We can either do it with Him** and cooperate by willingly putting things down and exercise ourselves to godliness through disciplines such as fasting, **or it can happen to us** through a “forced fast” like the one experienced in this passage by the Children of Israel as they are tried and trained in the wilderness.
Either way, we’re going to be made to learn, if we’re His. And, it’s for our good.
“If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.”
We can either seek out opportunities to confront those things that get between us and God, that block His love to and through us, or find ourselves thrust into situations that cause us to confront them, or both.
He desires to make us stronger, to conform us to the image of Christ, until like Jesus we are steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
It is a work that He will complete without fail.
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”
God wants to grow us to the point where, when the enemy attacks us at our weakest point, tempting us, our Strength is so overwhelming we can respond, “Man shall not live by bread alone [our earthly dependencies or whatever Satan’s offering], but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”
But [Jesus] answered [Satan’s temptation] and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
Fasting is a spiritual discipline of forsaking natural satisfaction in pursuit of spiritual sustenance.
Without the **pursuit** of God, fasting is just dieting.
But, a real fast is much more.
Fasting is more than abstaining, it’s availing ourselves of the sustenance only God can provide, through seeking His revelation, obedience to what He reveals, while putting aside our earthly comforts and dependencies to rely on Him alone.
“In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, eat.’
But He said to them, ‘I have food to eat of which you do not know.’
Therefore the disciples said to one another, ‘Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?’
Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.'”
Fasting is strength conditioning, where at the point of our weakness, His strength is made perfect. It is preparation for the trials that are sure to come.
I’m so thankful to my dear sister in Christ, Monica Banks, for her quiz that prepares me for the test.
#52WoG #fasting #spiritualwarfare