Food has always been one of the greatest temptations. King stomach has ruled over our decisions time and time again. It was one of three great things the Devil tried to use against Jesus when he was fasting at the beginning of His ministry. The devil could choose any temptation known to mankind and yet the best he could come up with was turn this stone into bread and eat it? We’ll, after all Esau sold his inheritance for a bowl of soup. And … if we go all the way back, the fall of mankind happened when Adam and Eve couldn’t stay away from the forbidden fruit. They ate it and we have been paying the penalty ever sense.
I think the story of the garden is completely relevant to our fasting today. It says in Genesis 2:9
9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
I have always thought it interesting that the bible specifies that both trees were in the middle of the garden. The one that produced life and the one that produced death. So every time they came to the tree of life … there it was … the other tree … staring them in the eyes. We have joked that it probably tasted like coffee and smelled like chocolate. It was the perfect mocha, right there, every morning. Who could refuse. But this is exactly the same way we face our temptations. Our choice do what is right and our temptations are always right there, in front of us. Our temptations are central. they aren’t hiding, waiting to be discovered … they are right in the middle of our garden. I love how vs16 says:
“16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden;”
The first words uttered to man are: “You Are Free!” Our life defining choices are always central to our living space. You are free to choose. Fasting is one of those beautiful disciplines set in motion to help us to learn about ourselves and the choices we make. Take this time and really be stretched. Really feel the tension toward something that isn’t bad (food or whatever else you may have chosen), but that we have made a decision to abstain from. Strengthen your muscles to say: “No”. There is amazing freedom found in that two lettered word. As we’ll talk about a little tomorrow, there is beauty and fulfillment and even great freedom found in discipline.
Until tomorrow: Happy Fasting:)