Our fasting quote of encouragement today is from Donald Whitney. He said: “A biblical definition of fasting is a Christian’s voluntary abstinence from food for spiritual purposes. It is Christian, for fasting by a non-Christian obtains no eternal value because the Discipline’s motives and purposes are to be God-centered. It is voluntary in that fasting is not to be coerced. Fasting is more than just the ultimate crash diet for the body; it is abstinence from food for spiritual purposes.”
Our fasting devotional today is titled “JESUS PREPARES FOR COMBAT WITH FASTING” from John Piper, author of the bestselling book “A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer”.
Matthew 4:1 says, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”
Under the Spirit’s leading Jesus prepared himself to meet the devil by fasting. The Spirit of God willed that the Son of God be tested on his way into the ministry, and he willed that Jesus triumph in this testing through fasting. Jesus triumphed over the great enemy of his soul through fasting.
It seems to me that this story should shake us. Here is Jesus standing on the threshold of the most important public ministry in the history of the world. On his obedience and righteousness hangs the salvation of the world. None will escape damnation without this ministry of obedient suffering and death and resurrection. And God wills that, at the very outset, the ministry be threatened with destruction—namely, the temptations of Satan to abandon the path of lowliness and suffering and obedience. And of all the hundreds of things Jesus might have done to fight off this tremendous threat to salvation, he is led to fast. To fast!
If Satan had succeeded in deterring Jesus from the path of humble, suffering obedience, there would be no salvation. We would still be in our sins and without hope. Therefore we owe our salvation to the faithful fasting of Jesus. This is a remarkable tribute to fasting. Don’t ride over this quickly. Think on it. Jesus began his ministry with fasting. And he triumphed over his enemy through fasting.