The First 15

Thursday March 2, 2023

by Thomas Mitchell


Scripture Reading

Luke 4:1-2

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.


To succeed on a spiritual battlefield for our soul, we must go to the front lines with our appetites tamed, desperate and hungry for God.

If you knew you were going into the greatest challenge you would ever face to your calling and the fulfillment of your purpose on earth, how would you prepare? Would you keep your strength up? Go into a long season of mental and physical resilience training? Stock up on healthy food and drink resources to make sure your capacities would operate at their peak?

Or would you fast—eating nothing—for forty days?

Jesus understood that he would be at his peak reception to the Father’s voice, and his greatest level of resistance to the enemy’s voice, by fasting his way through the wild.

Fasting itself is a spiritual practice in which we say no to our desires, our appetites, and our tempting tastes so that we can yes to God’s desires, God’s will, and God’s direction for our lives. Saying no to himself, Jesus was ready to say no to the enemy of the soul and the purposes of God.

Jesus was working his virtue muscles by fasting, telling his body that his spirit was full, and that was enough. It’s not until we come to a full spirit being enough that we are truly ready to face down the offers of more that are inevitably there to tempt us.

J. D. Walt says about fasting: “What if it takes seasons devoid of the temporal state of well-being we call happiness to truly know Joy? If so, a lot of us are well positioned to learn. These times that can try our souls have a way of emptying us out so something from beyond us can flood in. That is ‘My Joy’ according to Jesus. Come, Holy Spirit!”

Fasting is a state of physical emptiness toward the goal of spiritual fullness. It is to resist the draw of food to enhance the draw of the food from heaven (John 4:32). Jesus knew that not putting food on his palate, chewing it, and then swallowing it was his path of preparation; his resistance to self-fulfillment was high, enabling him to stare down the enemy as even the grandest temptations came his way.

Fasting is a spiritual practice that, when done with healthy guidance and awareness by those who care for us medically, can open us to God in ways we can’t on a full stomach.This may be a time to fast for a meal or a day, to welcome the Holy Spirit to be our fullness and our provision.


Have you ever fasted before? If so, how do you think it helped you spiritually in that season of your life?

Closing Prayer

Lord of the Wild, resisting our own desires is not something we are well practiced in, but we understand how it helps build resilience in us to say no to the enemy’s offers of fulfillment. Teach us to fast in a way that works for us, and that leads us into deeper intimacy with you—the Bread of Heaven. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Songs for the Wilderness

Today we will sing “Make Room” by The Church Will Sing which you can find here. Subscribe to our Spotify playlist featuring all of our Songs for the Wilderness here.

First 15 through the season of Lent is adapted from Jesus in the Wild: Lessons of Calling for Life in the World available through Seedbed. If you or your small group are interested in using this resource for your Lenten study, you can find more information here or send an email to

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