*WISDOM FOR TODAY.*
*FAST AND PRAY.*
Matt 9:14-15 *Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?*
*And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.*
*Insight and Highlight.*
Questions will be asked if the Church does not reflect the attitude of the Christ we believe.
This question from the disciples of John to Christ on His disciples' lack of fasting and prayer teaches us a few things.
First, Jesus's answer is an eye opener telling us that there are ordained spiritual conduct that is present with so-called believers that are so unlike the Jesus they claim to serve.
Jesus fasted, Matt 4. He often goes to secret places to pray, Mark 1:35.
His spiritual life should influence our lives powerfully, but what we find is our cold attitude towards Jesus' command to fast and pray.
There are some so-called believers who do not believe in fasting and prayer.
There are some who pretend to fast. There are some who discourage fasting.
Fasting is encouraged to all believers with due respect and consideration to those who may be physically challenged or medically constrained.
In Matt 9:14-15, it would look like the disciples did not as yet fast or were never seen to fast.
Second, though, we may look at fasting and prayer as personal (Matt 6:6), or confidential to the Church, but it is important that people outside must see the Church as a fasting and praying one.
What happens in the Church is a concern to fellow believers and the society at large. What we do as believers outside the Church or in the society matters to the Church.
Paul says in 2 Tim 3:7 that anyone who desires the office of a Bishop
*"......must have a good report of them which are without;...."*
People outside can be perplexed when our conduct does not reflect the attitude of the Christ we profess.
We must possess special influence
of which the gospel is preached.
Third, many of us seem not to understand the importance of fasting and prayer until there arises a problem or more.
Jesus told the Pharisees the disciples will fast when He, the providence of prayer and fasting that holds them now, is no more (that is, has ascended to the Father.
Many of us do not yield to or appreciate the season of called and inspired congregational fasting and prayer until we lost the season and opportunity.
Fourth, if you do not fast and pray now, you will still do. It is an inescapable commission of the believer of Christ.
Those outside the church who do not believe in Christ's command to fast and pray will submit to it one day.
Fifth, it is thought-provoking and worthy of acceptance that Jesus used the word 'mourn' to illustrate what would necessitate the urge to fast and pray.
Fasting is also referred to as afflicting the soul in Lev 16:29-31.
In 2 Sam 1:12, 'morning' was used in conjuction with weeping and fasting.
It tells us the intensity of fasting and prayer and how seriously we should take them.
Esther implied in Esther 4:16 that the outcome of fasting and prayer could determine life or death. She might have been saying, 'lt is either God settles me or He takes me away'.
Fast and pray! There is a reward in it.
It is in your best interest, spiritually, to do so!
Do not pretend to fast, Matt 6:16.
*Call to Word action.*
Paul fasted. Little wonder he says in Phil 1:21 and may be implying that to die in seeking and pleasing God is gain . *For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.* (Also, 2 Cor 11:27).
*The Christian clarion duty.*
Pray until your joy is full, John 16:24.
Good morning, all, and be blessed as you come into His presence.
God bless you.