21 Days of Prayer and Fasting - Day 8
In Matthew 4, prior to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount teaching in Matthew 5-7, Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit. The greek word for wilderness is “erēmos,” and refers to the secret, solitary place that is uninhabited. There was the setting for Jesus’ fasting for forty days and nights. There was the setting in which Jesus was tempted by the devil, and demonstrated his triumph over him.
Let’s make a few powerful observations. One, the Spirit led Jesus there. Upon first glance it seems like a questionable move to lead one into the wilderness, and into temptation. However, the Spirit led Jesus into silence and solitude where he engaged in communion with God, the Father. Apparently, unhurrying, unplugging, and stepping into an uninhabited place actually connects us to the heart and power of God. The quiet place that seems weak or unproductive is the place of strength and productivity in the Spirit.
Secondly, the Spirit led Jesus into an intentional place for fasting. If Jesus, the Son of God, needs to be unhurried and unplugged for fasting to happen in an intentional way, there’s a good possibility that you and I need the same. It is difficult to only incorporate a practice like fasting or solitude “on the go.” Sometimes, we need to allow the Spirit to interrupt our lives, and take us to an intentional place of solitude. Sometimes, we need to listen to the Spirit and schedule solitude. I know that “scheduling” doesn’t sound spiritual, but I’ve learned that unless I create margin to be with God someone else will eliminate my margin and make sure that I never step into the erēmos with God.
Thirdly, when Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he was seemingly alone and weak from fasting. That is how we see it through human eyes. However, Jesus was anything but alone or weak. Practicing solitude and fasting is communion with God and strength. So, when Jesus was tempted, He triumphed. You are probably thinking to yourself, He is Jesus the Son of God, of course He triumphed. Much more than that though, He is the Way, who shows us the way to experience a life of victory, which is found in the erēmos.
When are you going to set aside some time to be in solitude with God and fast?
Take a moment to reflect on the power and possibility of the erēmos.