Then the Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness so that the devil might tempt him. After Jesus had fasted for forty days and forty nights, he was starving. The tempter came to him and said, “Since you are God’s Son, command these stones to become bread.”
Jesus replied, “It’s written, People won’t live only by bread, but by every word spoken by God.”
After that the devil brought him into the holy city and stood him at the highest point of the temple. He said to him, “Since you are God’s Son, throw yourself down; for it is written, I will command my angels concerning you, and they will take you up in their hands so that you won’t hit your foot on a stone.”
Jesus replied, “Again it’s written, Don’t test the Lord your God.”
Then the devil brought him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. He said, “I’ll give you all these if you bow down and worship me.”
Jesus responded, “Go away, Satan, because it’s written, You will worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” The devil left him, and angels came and took care of him.
Matthew 4:1-11 (CEB)
This may not surprise folks who know me well: I really like food. I like to eat it, cook it, talk about it, plan it, make it for 100+ people, share stories over it, think about it, I even used to blog about it.
And so hopefully I’m not biting off more than I can chew by taking on fasting as a spiritual discipline during Lent this year. By fasting, I don’t mean doing what my Muslim friends do during Ramadan (consuming nothing from sunup till sundown). Or what tradition tells us that Jesus did, which is more or less consume nothing for 40 days before staring down the devil.
I may love food, but I don’t always have the best relationship with it. I eat when I’m bored. I make unhealthy choices regularly. I sometimes decide that even though I love to cook, it’s much easier to eat a sleeve or two of crackers and cheese for dinner than to make something that’s, you know, good for me.
So I’m going to simply and clean up my act this lent. I’m going to eat less often, eat better, and only eat the following things:
While I certainly expect to see some health benefits, I’m really hoping for a clearer mind that I can turn towards Christ. Each and every time I wish I had a tortilla or a cookie, I’ll (attempt to) stop, pray, and think about what I might do to help bring about the Kingdom of God. This is obviously very different than whining about a lack of tacos.
In worship at St. Peter’s this Lent, we’ll be talking about spiritual disciplines including fasting during our “Spring Training” series, and I’ll be reflecting on how this clean eating fasting is going for me, and what I’m learning about myself and God. I hope you’ll check back in with me! I also challenge anyone reading this who participates in the season of Lent to take something on that you can use to turn your head and heart to the places God might be calling you to look this season.