Fasting Devotional Day Seven: Saturday, January 8, 2022 Text: Matthew 6:13
By Andrew Birky
During His famous sermon on the Mount, Jesus spent time teaching how to pray. Prayer is, in essence, having a conversation with God. We often view it as a chance to tell God about everything we are worried about, the pain we are going through, or the things we wish would change. Those are certainly valid things to bring to God’s mercy seat, but Jesus warns us not to “heap up empty phrases,” thinking we will be heard because of our many words. The truth is, your Father knows what you need before you ask him. How comforting is that? God already knows every care and concern you have. Instead, Jesus gives us a model to follow when we come to God in prayer. He closes this model prayer with the following statement:
And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
I love the sentiment behind this closing phrase. It speaks of a heart desperate to remain pure while being hard-pressed on every side by temptation and evil. Lord, lead me not into the temptation that confronts me every day! Please Lord, deliver me from the evil that tries to consume me! We should constantly ask the Lord for His help standing up to temptation because the truth is, we face a multitude of temptations every single day. Temptations to spend money irresponsibly, to judge other people, to manipulate events for our own benefit; the list goes on and on. One of the great temptations during the fast is to eat the things we’re used to eating. There’s a good chance you are hungry right now or fighting off a caffeine headache. I get it! I feel that way during the fast every year! But I also know without a shadow of a doubt that God is faithful and will not allow you to be tempted beyond your ability. He always provides a way of escape! (1 Cor. 10:13) How good it is to serve a loving Father who does not lead us into temptation, but faithfully provides a way for us to endure and walk in freedom instead.
Today, I challenge you to see your physical hunger as an opportunity to practice walking away from temptation. For these 3 weeks, you have a chance to deny your physical desires in order to build your spiritual discipline and focus. You will eat and drink regular food again. Don’t worry, these 3 weeks don’t last forever. But, you will certainly be faced with a multitude of temptations once the fast is over. So right now, decide to continue in your commitment to seeking God over filling your desire to eat. Reach out to friends for encouragement when you are weak, fill yourself with God’s Word, and pray that God would deliver you from evil every single day.