A new kind of fasting
By Evangelist Travis Bertrand
“Then said Jesus to His disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” – Luke 9:23 KJV
The year 2015 is here. Many families ate black eyed peas and cabbage hoping it would bring prosperity. Many people set resolutions in hopes it would help their lifestyles.
But for us, the Body of Christ, our hope should be different from that of the world. Our prosperity does not come from certain foods or the symbolism they bring. It comes from our relationship with Jesus.
How we celebrate 2015 should reflect our faith. One way to do that is congregational fasts — abstaining from foods and seeking the Lord as a community of believers. But, what if we start the year with a fast for the rest of our lives?
Cajuns, please hear me out before you turn the page. I know we enjoy our food, and for some of us, health keeps us from participating in extensive fasting.
I agree fasting from foods is an essential and vital principal to practice in the Christian life. We should practice fasting as the Holy Spirit leads us to do so. Today, however, I am not talking about food.
We cry for revival and for the Spirit of God to move in our lives, but we want to hold on to things in our lives that God either wants to use or get rid of. For some this is a difficult process.
Today, stop eating your desires and fast for life.
When I use fasting in this article I mean surrender. My desire is for us to allow the Holy Spirit to dominate our lives in a way that the light of Jesus Christ would shine bright throughout our communities, touch those around us, and ultimately reach the world.
King Jesus said in Matthew 16:24 “..if any man will come after Me, let him deny himself.”
In Matthew, Jesus is speaking to his disciples after He tells them He will soon die and of His coming glorious resurrection. In Matthew 16:22 Peter tries to rebuke the Lord by telling Him that it will not be so. It’s a response of the flesh.
If Jesus would not have finished His redemptive work, Peter and the rest of us could not have been saved! Peter completely missed God’s perfect plan because all he was seeing was the now.
Peter did not want Jesus to die. Peter also was a Jew and probably thought Jesus would come to destroy Roman rule in the natural. Romans 8:8 says “So then, they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Peter was not able to please God just as we cannot please God in our flesh.
We are quick to pick on Brother Peter when we read some of the comments he makes or how he puts his foot in his mouth from time to time. Yet, many times I’ve found myself in Peter’s shoes. Have you ever jumped ahead of God’s plan in an attempt to set up your own scheme hoping He will bless it?
Today, many preachers and layman concern themselves with the question of
“What is God’s plan for you?” Many authors write books on destiny and self-help books (by the way, Christians can’t help themselves this is why we have Jesus).
I am here to tell you that God’s destiny for you is to fall deeply in love with the Lamb of God. His plan is for you to follow Jesus Christ.
When Jesus tells His disciples to “deny yourself” He is telling them to put aside their desires. We must lay down our entire being and submit to the rule of the King.
This is a call to those who desire to fellowship with Jesus Christ in a way that will change your life for eternity. I’m talking about a passionate, deep, burning desire that causes you to stay up at night wanting more of Him.
The Holy Spirit desires for you to follow Jesus. I don’t mean from a distance with binoculars. I mean to walk with Him, talk with Him, learn of Him, and be close to Him as John the Beloved was at the Last Supper.
One of my favorite moments of someone being close to Jesus is when He was on the cross. While He was mocked and cursed, while some spit on His body, while Jesus hangs left to die and finish His redemptive work, the voice of a criminal cries out, “Lord, remember me when thou comes into thy kingdom.” Luke 23:43.
This is such a rich encounter of faith because this man (just like me) deserved death. He deserved the very judgment of God. Yet, with no opportunity to be baptized in water and no chance to go through 12 steps, he calls on the name of the Lord and was saved.
Will you fall in love today with the Savior? Draw near to Him. My prayer is that we forsake ourselves this New Year and put the first thing first — JESUS CHRIST.
Travis Bertrand is an evangelist at
Freedom Baptist Church in Eunice.
He is part of the Welcome House
shelter in Crowley where he leads
men’s Bible study. He and his wife,
Olivia, are parents of two daughters.