I did not come by that quickly. As a child, I was a peanut butter eater and very little else. When I was a teen, my family developed a close friendship with some Arab believers from Bethlehem, Israel. They were terrific and wanted to share the food with us. At fourteen, I thought I would die the first time I ate a grape leaf filled with lamb and rice. That feeling left the more I ate at their home. There was no option, our new friends were more important than my taste buds. It was not long until I loved their food but it was not spicy.
Graduate School – Mission to Mexico
In graduate school, I worked for a church planting mission organization that worked throughout Mexico. We took students from Canada and the U.S. on their first short term mission. There was a group of pastors from all over Mexico that met to plan, organize, and train the new leaders from all over Mexico. This team of leaders wanted me to eat with them and try their food. I had no choice. I wanted to be a part. I wanted them to know I loved them. Some of their food was hot, spicy hot.
My Love for India
When I came to Columbus, Ohio, God sent me a new friend from India. You know where this is going, don’t you? I had never eaten real Indian food. It was not long before I am being invited to Indian dinners with dozens of people and everyone is so excited because I am sharing their food. Now that was spicy food. I love it. In each case for me, the relationship is what motivated me. (If you would like to see my trip here is an old video.)
Why is food so tempting?
In Jesus’ temptation of Matthew Chapter 4, one of the critical factors is food or the lack of food. Jesus fasted. I learned to love fasting because of the relationship. I wanted to know what my fellow believers in Jesus wanted, so I didn’t eat. Then I wanted to know what Jesus knew. I extended my fasts longer and just had water. I was amazed at the spiritual battles and the victories. In Matthew Chapter 4, it says that Satan tried to get Jesus to turn stones into bread, but He said no. Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” In Matthew Chapter 5, Jesus says we are salt, the spice of the earth, and the world can’t afford for us to lose our relationship with it and Him at the same time.
Today, I don’t see fasting as easy, but it is an excellent way for me to trust God’s Word. It has become a way for me to build a relationship with Jesus. I want to know Jesus more. I want to invite you to try fasting during this season. Pray for the people around you, too. You will get to know yourself in new ways, to see the world differently. You will gain a new appreciation for Jesus.
PRAYER: You just speak from your heart. Ask Jesus to help you pray.