Strangely, one of the big issues of fasting is food!! How to fast? What to eat? What not to eat? Then during the fast itself, how to observe and maintain the fast during ‘normal’ business, family and social life? This can be so distracting as to be a serious negative to the whole process.
Jesus was not concerned with the provision of food on this occasion – until the devil drew his attention to it! It was the devils attempt to distract him from the main issue. His focus was fully on the issue at hand, which in this case was dealing with the temptation to doubt his own identity. Our own 18 days of reflection needs a focus that is something other than fasting. The absence or restriction on food in itself is not a spiritual process and is of no benefit. It is meant to be a point of emphasis, an underlining of our spiritual intention, the removal of a distraction. The last thing it should become is a distraction in itself! Jesus dealt with the issue at hand using his major spiritual weapon – the word of God. We owe our existence to the very breath that proceeds from the mouth of God not to the food that we consume. Our time of reflection is an opportunity to allow this reality to take primary place in our lives for a brief period. Breathe in, breathe out. Allow the life breath of God to fill your spiritual lungs and maybe bring to life the thing that you have allowed to die because it was too difficult, too painful, too depressing.
What focus is God laying on your heart for this time of reflection? Is there a scriptural word that he is leading you to? Are you allowing the distractions of the process to rob you of its purpose?
Jesus, thank you for this opportunity to breathe in your word for me. Thank you that you want to bring life to every part of my being. Help me not to be distracted by the physical circumstances of my life but allow your word to speak to me clearly. Amen.
Read: Matthew 4:1-4
Devotional: The Vine – Fasting
By: The Vine Church Hong Kong