And when the tempter came to him, he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
- Matthew 4:3
How would it be if we could make bread from stones? Have you ever thought about the convenience of it?
Making a loaf or a hot roll sounds like a good idea, considering today's prices of good bread. We could find long stones and make french sticks, flat stones for hamburger buns, and out of bluestones we could make giant-sized loaves for the whole family, soft and warm.
The concept sounds good to us, but imagine these thoughts after forty days of eating nothing at all?
When we go without food for that long, it impacts our cognitive abilities. It would also play games with our faith, particularly toward the end when we would start thinking about what we would choose to eat when finished. The idea of a fast is to take our focus off temporal things and put it on Godly things. Food takes up more of our mental space and time than we realise, and a fast removes those temptations and desirous thoughts.
Many people fast to lose weight, but a spiritual fast is much different from that. Generally, we will have a specific reason or preferred spiritual outcome for a spiritual fast.
I recall doing a fast years ago and, during the last few hours, it was a fight to stay focused on the Lord and the reason for the fast. The thoughts of food and drink continually tried to force themselves to the front of my mind.
Aptly named ’tempter’, Satan’s job is to destroy through temptation as many people as possible before he is thrown into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:10, “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
He wants all Christians to either give up their faith or fail in their quest to fulfil their calling. We have seen so many TV preachers fall to various temptations. God is on one side encouraging us, and Satan is on the other side disheartening, depressing and agitating us. We don't need to be on a fast to feel the cunning of Satan, we just have to be doing normal life as a believer.
At the moment, we don't have the power to command stones to be made bread, but Jesus did, which added a great degree of difficulty to His decision not to eat until the required time.
How did Jesus respond to Satan’s temptation? Matthew 4:4, “But he answered and said, it is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God."
Think about this response. Jesus was fully cognitive, understanding the temptation, His own power, and the power of scripture.
What are your responses to Satan's temptations? I mean the big temptations? Are they as considered and simple as that of Jesus? Or do you find yourself under pressure and ready to fall?
Jesus seemed so calm, cool and controlled even after forty days of deprivation. He spent His life resisting temptation, where others spent their lives falling to it. Resistance is a muscle which needs exercise. If you are experiencing trouble resisting temptation, you could memorise biblical scriptures and phrases like Jesus used, and then put them to work whether during a fast or not.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for Jesus resisting such great temptations at times when they were at their worst. Please help me to also resist in such a great and biblical way, getting stronger each day like Him.