Matthew 4:4 “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
Hello, my brothers and sisters. May the Spirit of the Lord fill you and make you complete. Amen! Today is the day after Thanksgiving and it is as good a day as any to fast. I have not eaten any food since consuming the Thanksgiving meal provided by the prison, which by the way, is a very good meal as far as prison food goes. The kitchen workers did an excellent job! It was the best meal I have had in my three-plus years of incarceration.
Fasting is the act of denying oneself that which is either necessary or desirable to you. When you go without, in the name of the Lord, it strengthens the bond between you and God. It also gives you great discipline and strengthens your ability to resist temptation. We should not fast and brag about it to others. Fasting is between you and God. I have fasted many times, but this is the first time I have shared the experience with all of you. Matthew 6:16 tells us “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.” I am not writing this to boast. Rather, I am using this experience to share the importance and the benefits of fasting.
Jesus set an amazing example in Matthew 4:1-4 “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Can you imagine going 40 days without food? To be clear, that is humanly impossible. The average human being can only go 30 days without food before dying. It is only because the Lord is the Lord that He was able to go above and beyond the human condition. None of us will ever have as much dignity, poise or discipline to accomplish such.
The feeling of fasting is wonderful. Right now, my stomach and body are unsatisfied and hungry, but my spirit is electrified as I conquer the needs and desires of my flesh with the help of the Lord. Jesus and I are fasting together. Praise His Name! I have given all my food to the other inmates – for free. I mention that because most inmates will either trade or sell their food. Food is a commodity in prison. One should not seek compensation for fasting. There must not be any other motive except devotion to God. It is okay, however, to ask of the Lord when fasting. In fact, that is one of the best times to ask of the Lord. I have been reading my Bible and staying in prayer throughout this fast.
I had a conversation about fasting with one of my fellow inmates today. He saw me giving away my food and asked, “What are you doing that for?” I explained to him what fasting is and he said, “I could never do that.” To which I replied, “That is correct. You could not do it on your own. Neither could I. It is only possible for me because of my faith in God.” This man is an atheist. I have been witnessing to him. We had a great discussion about God. It was wonderful. I only hope that seeds are being planted and that they will take root. This man is a drug addict, which is why doing something selfless seems ridiculous to him. Most addicts are extremely selfish due to their disease. Addiction literally changes their thought patterns. Drugs are a tool of the devil. This man told me, once again, that I am foolish to believe in God. To which I replied, “You have no faith in God, but you have faith in drugs? Don’t you see that you made drugs your god? You worship your desires. And, where did that lead you? Would it not be better for you to worship God and live for Him instead of drugs? God will lead you on the right path. You can live a better life – a life of purpose. Can drugs do that for you?” “No”, he said, “Drugs have ruined my life.” I am overjoyed to be a witness for Christ. Praise God! By the end of the conversation, he seemed to understand why living a godly life is better than living for drugs.
Every time I fast, it is a wonderful experience. Fasting can be very healthy as well. It detoxes the body and is invigorating. You should drink plenty of fluids when you fast. It is important to stay hydrated and staying full on fluids also assists in fighting off hunger pangs. If you are a beginner, you might want to start by going a day just eating fruit or nuts. Eventually, you can work your way up to going food-less. It is very important to pray before you fast. It will help you get mentally prepared. It will also help you decide the right time to fast. If you have a job, I personally would suggest fasting on your days off, but that’s up to you. Only you and God truly know your body. You can push the boundaries to find your limit. I would not suggest fasting for more than a week at a time. Any more could weaken your body significantly. But, again, that is between you and God. I typically fast for one to three days. I am still learning my limits. Fasting is an awesome experience. I recommend it to everyone who is healthy enough to do it. Of course, there are other things that you could give up besides food… t.v., for instance, or sweets …the choice is yours. Being in solitary confinement, I decided that food is the best choice for me.
I love you, brothers and sisters. Be strong in the Lord! May God bless and keep you! May you embrace the spiritual healing of fasting! May you gain discipline and strength in the Lord!
Love in Christ,
(a man who strives to be devoted to the Lord)
6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
“If you take away the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 If you extend your soul to the hungry
And satisfy the afflicted soul,
Then your light shall dawn in the darkness,
And your darkness shall be as the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
12 Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.”