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January 9, 2013 / brockbruce

Fasting Prepares You For Spiritual Battle

fasting-resized-600.jpgThen Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (Matthew 1:1-2)

This happens right after Jesus baptism in Matthew 3. The Holy Spirit came down and publicly anointed Jesus, and then leads him into the wilderness to be tempted (definite parallels to the Moses)  It’s almost like God was saying

“GOOD JOB JESUS, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH, BUT THAT’S JUST THE BEGINNING. I’VE GOT TO GET YOU CLOSER TO ME. I LOVE YOU. YOU ARE MY SON. WE NEED TO GET SOMEWHERE AND TALK. YOU DEMONSTRATED THAT I DESIRE A PURE HEART. YOU SHOWED THAT REPENTANCE AND REGENERATION, THAT CHANGE AND NEWNESS ARE WHAT I DO. NOW YOU NEED TO PREPARE FOR THE REST OF THIS MISSION”

JESUS FASTS

1. AS A PRAYER AID

2. TO EXPERIENCE GOD

He knew that he would be facing a temptation in the wilderness similar to Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness. He knew that to pass the test he had to spend time in prayer. He had to get his humanity inline with his deity. He had to prepare himself for his mission. Jesus came with a mission. He was the incarnational missionary. So he fasts to make sure his perspective is the Father’s perspective.

He also knew that if he was going to experience all that it meant to be human as well as face the Tempter face to face, he need to have an encounter with GOD.

SEE IF WE ARE GOING TO FACE WHAT WE FACE IN THIS FALLEN WORLD WE NEED TO HAVE AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD.

IF WE ARE GOING TO HAVE AN ENCOUNTER WITH THE TEMPTER, WE MUST BE READY OURSELVES BY HAVING AN ENCOUNTER WITH GOD.

SO THIS FAST IS CHARACTERIZED BY

1. HUNGER. IT ALLOWED JESUS TO SAY FAVORED OF GOD ARE THOSE THAT HUNGER AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS FOR THEY WILL BE FILLED (Matthew 5). HE KNEW IT TO BE TRUE BECAUSE HE HAD EXPERIENCED IT HIMSELF.

2. PRAYER. THAT’S HOW HE WAS ABLE TO TEACH US TO PRAY “THEY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN”

3. SCRIPTURE MEDITATION. THAT’S WHY EVERY TIME SATAN CAME TO TEMPT HIM HE COULD SAY “IT IS WRITTEN” AND JESUS ALWAYS ANSWERED ACCORDING TO THE QUESTION. He didn’t just start quoting the genealogies. Satan didn’t say turn these stones to bread and Jesus say, “And Abraham begat Isaac, and Isaac begat Jacob and Esau.” NO!. He quoted scripture that answered Satan’s tempting. It shut up the devil. Satan had to try something else because he didn’t have an answer for a proper word based response. Some of you are fighting the same battles you’ve always fought cause you don’t read the word. And when it gets read, you don’t apply it. James tells us not to just be hearers of the word but doers of what it says. Paul tells us the the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of GOD. We’ve got to swing our sword. We’ve got to swing the sword.

SO JESUS FASTED TO PREPARE HIMSELF FOR THE BATTLE THAT HE KNEW WAS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. He fasted to align His will with Father’s, to encounter GOD more intimately and to spend time loading his gun with the spiritual ammunition of the WORD.

So we fast to prepare ourselves for the battle. We do it the same way Jesus did, by hungering after GOD, by praying, and by devouring the WORD. That’s why in another mention of fasting in the gospels Jesus tells his disciples they need to fast and pray.

MATTHEW 17:14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, 15 said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon,and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly. 19Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20He said to them,  “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” 21: But this kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting.

HOW DID JESUS KNOW HE COULD DEFEAT THE DEVIL BY PRAYER AND FASTING? BECAUSE HE HAD DONE IT!

JESUS IS TELLING THE DISCIPLES THE IMPORTANCE OF HUNGERING AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS. THE IMPORTANCE OF ENCOUNTERING GOD. THE IMPORTANCE OF SCRIPTURE. THE IMPORTANCE OF STANDING ON SCRIPTURE. THE IMPORTANCE OF SPEAKING SCRIPTURE. THAT WHEN YOU SPEND TIME IN PRAYER AND FASTING IT ALLOWS YOU TO WALK IN AUTHORITY BECAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN AUTHORITY. NOT YOUR OWN STRENGTH. NOT BY MIGHT OR BY POWER BUT BY HIS SPIRIT SAYS THE LORD. SPIRITUAL SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY BASED ON REPENTANCE REGENERATION AND SUPERNATURAL ENCOUNTER.

SO IN THESE 2 INSTANCES OF FASTING AND PRAYER WE SEE IT AS A PREPARATION FOR A SPIRITUAL BATTLE. JESUS DOES IT. And he teaches his disciples to do it. Why? Not because Fasting is magical but because it teaches us to depend on GOD, causes us to hunger and encounter GOD and forces us recognize where our will needs to be conformed to his will.

BUT THESE 2 INSTANCES OF FASTING TO OVERCOME THE DEMONIC AREN’T ALONE. DANIEL tells us in his book. The 10th chapter

1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war.[a] The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. 2 At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. 3 I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over.

4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. 6 His body was like topaz, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude. 7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. 10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. 11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.

12 Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 13 But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. 14 Now I have come to explain to you what will happen to your people in the future, for the vision concerns a time yet to come.”

Here we see what Jesus knew and Daniel learned, that fasting is as much a spiritual event as it is a physical event. Some of you during your fast will encounter the enemy’s attack. Don’t give up. While Daniel was fasting, praying seeking an answer to his vision the enemy was fighting against the fulfillment of the vision.

1- Satan doesn’t want the promise of GOD to be fulfilled in your life. That thing God has spoken to you. That vision he has given you. He doesn’t want it to come to pass. He knows that no good ever comes to him when GOD’s vision in us see’s it’s fulfillment. So he wars against the fulfillment of the vision.

2- But there are heavenly warriors fighting demons to bring GOD’s promised vision to completion. No weapon formed against us shall prosper because GOD is on the throne.

3- These are real unseen spiritual battles and they behave like real battles. Sometimes the answer doesn’t come when we want it. But don’t give up because we have one greater than Michael, one of the chief princes, WE HAVE JESUS CHRIST THE KING OF KINGS AND THE LORD OF LORDS! He has already defatted the prince of darkness, openly made a show of him, conquering sin and now He sits at the right hand of the Father. And what is he doing? He’s our mediator, and intercessor. He’s praying for us. You know what he said when he broke the bread and drank the wine with the 12. He said he wouldn’t eat of it again until he does it with us in the kingdom. In a sense HE IS FASTING NOW FOR US. He is willfully abstaining from a certain meal until he comes for us. Our KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS is in a fast for us. Praying the Father for us. Sending his Spirit to us. KEEP GOING. GOD HAS A PURPOSE THAT SATAN CAN NOT STOP IF YOU ARE WILLING TO HUNGER AND THIRST AFTER RIGHTEOUSNESS.

If you want to be a spiritual warrior, able to stand victorious over the forces of darkness, principalities and powers, ruler of wickedness spend time in prayer and fasting.

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