Updated: Jan 9, 2019
“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry…” (Matthew 4:1–2)
On the eve of being tempted by Satan, Jesus did something that is definitely counterintuitive. He abstained from food for forty days! Matthew and Luke both write that after this period, He was “hungry”. Being that He was completely human, we also know that Jesus was likely weak and tired.
Hungry, weak, and tired. Not the situation you want to be in before you are tempted to sin. Yet this is the state that Jesus made sure to be in before He met with Satan himself in the barren wilderness.
Why would He do that?
Showing that to resist temptation, one must completely rely on God, Christ “emptied” Himself of His reliance on His human nature through fasting. The New Testament word which is translated “fasting” literally means one who has not eaten, one who is empty.
At Element Church, we desire each year to empty ourselves of all things that may keep us from focusing on God in the new year. This is why we take part together in a 21 Day Fast.
We encourage our entire congregation to participate in some way, focusing on God in the absence of something else.
Here are some suggestions of how you might consider fasting:
Some form of fasting from food. Typically when the Bible talks about fasting, it is referring to abstaining from food. This can take the form of removing a particular type of food from your diet, following a prescribed diet (i.e.- “The Daniel Plan”, Liquid diet), or abstaining from food altogether. Consider your own health before deciding how to fast from food, consult your doctor if you have questions!
Fasting from a habit or practice you have that may be taking away focus from God. Things such as media, phones, video games, etc. Make sure to replace this time with prayer and studying the Word of God.
No matter what you fast from, it is important to use this time to focus and reflect on God in prayer and worship. Use this time to strip away other aspects of your life, and to “empty” yourself as Christ did. Pray often for your family, your circle of influence, your Pastors, and your Church.
We pray you are blessed during this season of renewed focus on God, and we look forward to growing with you as a Church family in this new year!
Fasting is one of the most neglected spiritual practices. When I first undertook an extended fast, I had a difficult time finding information on the nature of a biblical fast, how to start, what to expect physically and spiritually and how to end a fast.
These pages are designed to answer your practical questions about fasting and ease any concerns you might have. In this series, you will learn:
Why you should fast and how to do it safely
How long and what type of fast is right for you
How to prepare yourself spiritually and physically
How to manage your schedule while fasting
How to deal with the responses of friends and loved ones
How to make your spiritual experience the best it can be
How to maintain nutritional balance and health from beginning to end (including specific juice and broth recipes)
What physical benefits to expect
How to finish your fast and return to your normal schedule in a HEALTHY way