The passing of Billy Graham last week was a funny mix of emotions. For me, it was a trip down memory lane to one of those truly defining moments of childhood: sitting in a sea of people, a buzz of expectation and the witnessing of an outpouring of God’s Spirit, so profound that thousands of people experienced a revelation of Jesus all at the same time and suddenly understood their need for Him, making heart-felt decisions to repent of their sins and follow Him for the rest of their days. It appeared that Billy’s passing stirred up the memory of those encounters for thousands of people as tributes poured in. It was truly an awesome reminder of the sweet birth of faith for many. In truth, the last few years of Billy’s life have been fairly quiet as he battled with the physical struggles of an ageing body. Yet, in his death, he has once again stirred into flame the fires that he had once lit many years ago. And that thought led me to think about the role of death in the life of a Christian. Indeed, none of us would be experiencing the incredible love of our Saviour and restoration of relationship with the Father, without one particular horrific death – the crucifixion of Jesus. Romans 4:25 tell us, “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” A good read of the book of Romans shows how Paul understood that death was our inheritance because of Adam’s sin but Christ’s death gave us access to a whole new way of life! But Paul also encouraged us to actively “put to death” the sinful nature. “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13) It is a necessary part of our life as a Christian, to be led by the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit was given to us to empower us to live a life worthy of the Cross. And, as I reflect over the course of my many decades of following Jesus, I realise the significance of the “deaths” that I’ve had to experience. There is the death that comes with dying to my ambitions and obeying the path of the Lord. There is the death of submitting to my authority. There is the death of learning to come alongside my husband and take on his mission. There is the death of my needs in raising my children. There is the death of my control as I release my tithes and offerings to the Lord. There are literally thousands of little deaths that are part of the Christian walk. Yet, arising from each death, is a whole new life of freedom and wholeness, of purpose and enlightenment. Fasting plays an important role in learning to put to death the sinful nature that seeks to rage against what our spirit knows. Fasting enables us to silence the voices that compete for our attention, and to tune in, once again, to the voice of our Heavenly Father. He speaks truth about us, but the competing sounds of this life often drown that truth out. The account of Jesus’ life in Luke 4 shows how His time of fasting both tested and strengthened His identity, His motives and His purpose. He returned in the power of the Holy Spirit. Fasting is powerful. If you’d like to know more about this valuable discipline, and how to do it safely, please click here. John 12:24 says,“I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone [just one grain, never more]. But if it dies, it produces much grain and yields a harvest.” (AMP) We are entering a time of prayer and fasting as a church. Let’s pray that in this symbolic death of laying things down during a period of fasting, we might see a harvest yielded in our lives. Because death in Christ is not the grievous, fruitless death of this world but rather a doorway to the incredible, over-flowing, resurrected life of eternity!