Strengthened With Might
This might sound like an oxymoronic idea – voluntary weakness makes me stronger. But it’s true. Fasting positions us to grow in strength, courage, and might.
In Daniel 10, Daniel was weak and hungry – and maybe a little hangry, too. Even as I write this, I am feeling a genuine sense of sadness because I miss food. It’s not just that I’m hungry, but I have the feeling as if I miss an old friend – namely chicken wings and sweet potato fries, but I digress.
(Dan. 10:8,9) 8…no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength. 9 Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heart the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.
But in his weakness, Daniel encountered an angel. In this encounter, the angel told Daniel to “stand upright.”
(Dan. 10:11)…O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright…I stood trembling.
(Dan. 10:19) And he [the angel] said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, take courage!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”
Again, one weak, frail old man fasts and prays and finds himself being strengthened with might and courage by an angel from heaven.
This is similar to what we see in Jesus during His 40-day fast in the desert.
(Mk. 1:13) And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.
The work for “ministered” in the Greek is diakoneó, the word we get “deacon” from.
It means to serve or help one in their need. Jesus was fasting and the Father sent angels to serve, help, and strengthen him. And when he came out of the season of fasting, Jesus walked in a new level of anointing.
(Lk. 4:14) Then Jesus returned [from the desert] in the power of the Spirit to Galilee…
As we practice saying no to our fleshly appetites and yes to the things of the Spirit, we grow spiritual muscle. The more we work that muscle, the stronger we get. The more we face our temptations and respond according to God’s Word, we stir up courage to stand in even greater temptation.
The same muscle I use to say no to those chicken wings, is the same muscle I use to say no to anger, sloth, bitterness, lust, and a host of other sins and vices.
When the Israelites came out of the desert (a sort of 40 year fast), the Lord tells Joshua, to be strong and take courage.
(Joshua 1:6) Be strong and of good courage…
Fasting positions our hearts to be strengthened with might in our inner man. As we engage in this 21-day fast, let us remember that God wants us to stand secure in love and strengthened with courage.
Prayer: God of glory and strength, thank You that you see me in my weakness. Thank you that You do not leave me alone. Holy Spirit, come and strengthen me that I might stand strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Give me grace in this season to fast and pray, that I might go forth in the power of the Spirit. Amen.