Luke 4:1 says, “Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” Then in Luke 4:14 the Bible says, “Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee.” Is there a difference between being filled with the Spirit and walking in the power of the Spirit? If so, what is it and what happened in between 4:1 and 4:14 that shifted Jesus’ spiritual capacity?
The Greek word for power in verse 14 is the word dunamis. Our English word dynamite was taken from this Greek word dunamis. This is the same Greek word used in Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Dunamis is God’s special anointing upon our lives to blow up strongholds in other peoples’ lives. Strongholds of unbelief, doubt, fear, pain, bitterness, addictions and more.
What did Jesus do between being filled and returning in dunamis? He ate nothing for 40 days (Luke 4:2). In the book Fasting by Derek Prince, he writes, “It is one thing to be full of the Spirit , it is another thing to be in the power of the Spirit. From the time of His baptism onwards, the Spirit was there. But it was His fasting that released the power of the Holy Spirit to flow through His life and ministry without hindrance.”
Fasting is a powerful process that changes the spiritual dynamics in us. Derek Prince also says, “I believe the essential nature of fasting is renouncing the natural to invoke the supernatural. The most natural thing for us to do is eat. When we give up eating, we are deliberately turning away from the natural by turning to God and to the supernatural. This has deep significance.”
There’s a lot I could share about fasting, but here I want to share 3 Tips from my personal experience that have helped me to release the power of the Spirit in my life…
1. Fast With A Goal
Fasting can be difficult. Depending on the type and length of the fast, you may be tempted more than once to quit or take a shortcut. Having a goal helps to sustain your focus and resolve. It increases your determination to see God move in your situation. Even if your just fasting to get closer to God, write that down as your goal.
Having a goal also increases your faith. When God breaks through in miraculous ways you were fasting for, the sense of His reality is indescribable.
2. Fast In Secret
Don’t make a show of your fasting. In Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus reveals that the motive of fasting should be to draw closer to the Lord, not to impress men. Fasting is something that fosters intimacy between a believer and Christ WHEN it is done in secret.
If you’re a pastor or leader who is leading a corporate fast for a season it is not practical to uphold this completely. It’s critical for people to know and see your example, but not necessarily every person you come in contact with who is not involved in the commitment.
3. Fast In Order To Make More Room For Him
Fasting is supposed to be a powerful component in a spiritual journey. When I’m fasting food or media, I exchange the time I would use on those activities and spend it with God. If I’m fasting meats and sweets I need to try extra hard to increase my time in the Word and prayer elsewhere.
The focus isn’t to merely sacrifice. The point is to sacrifice something FOR Him. I sacrifice lunch to worship Him and seek His face. I fast to have less of me and more of Him. As John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease (John 3:30).
We’re just scratching the surface here, but I want to share with you that through the example of Jesus, since I was a teenager fasting has opened a door for me to enter and explore a larger world than I ever could’ve imagined. I encourage you to plan out a future fast and as you’re in the midst of it, declare that you are releasing the power of the Spirit in your life in greater ways!
CC Image • Sean MacEntee on Flickr