Thursday, October 27, 2011
"FASTING AND HOLINESS OF LIFE"
Good Evening to All!
People fast for many reasons. Sometimes doctors want us to fast before they do lab work on us. Other times we fast because we are trying to lose weight. Even another reason is for "cleansing our bodies of toxins. The kind of fasting I am talking about this evening is Spiritual fasting. This type fasting is very important to our souls. It can bring about clarity, it can bring us closer to God. Not only that it can also bring us answers to our prayers. Jesus said certain things could not be accomplished but by prayer and fasting, such as when the disciples were trying to cast the demon out of the boy. I truly believe that it is still that way. To get answers to our most difficult questions or problems I believe that it takes sacrifice on our part of prayer and fasting
There are many other aspects to Holiness and Christian Living as well as the ones I have written about in previous posts. There is Fasting
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.(Matthew 6:16-18) (Matthew 9:14-15; 17:21), For the interest of clarification, fasting DOES NOT earn favors from God, nor is it meant to punish the body. What it does is helps a person to discipline him/herself, it helps them to focus on priorities, and draw closer to the spiritual realm. Where some people make a mistake is not understanding fasting. When I first started, I thought as long as I went without food, I was doing what I was supposed to do. I was wrong. Going without food is just part of it. While doing without food, a person is supposed to spend their time praying reading God's Word and contemplating on God. This is not being done for health reasons, or because we "didn't have time to eat. It is to be done with a specific purpose in mind, and that is spiritual.
I didn't really understand what "holiness" was until these last 11-12 years. I just figured as long as I got dressed up and went to church, that was being holy. I never really tried to dig deeper than that. Not only that, I don't think I even opened my Bible except when I was "in church". Once I walked out the door of the church it went home with me and was put on a shelf until the following Wednesday night when I returned to church again. I wish I could say it was because I was young, but truth be told I did that even in my adult years. As I said before, I didn't get serious about my relationship with God until 1999, when I was baptized in Jesus Name and received the Holy Ghost. Since then my hunger for God has been insatiable. I can't get enough. Part of my learning experience has been adjusting my whole outlook of my relationship with Him and His Word, as well as what He expects of us from the holiness point of view. Below is just a touch of what I have learned by reading His Word.
Another aspect is Holiness of life. This is VERY IMPORTANT. Pursuing holiness is as important as the new birth. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord". (Hebrews 12:14)
God commands His people to be holy in all conduct because He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). According to God's Word, We are to obey this command in order to (1) Please God, for we belong to Him, (2) communicate Christ to others, and (3) benefit ourselves, both now and for eternity.
For God's people, holiness means conformity to God's character--thinking as He things, loving what He loves , hating what He hates, and acting as Christ would act. Specifically holiness is (2) separation from sin and the world system and (2) dedication to God (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:17-7:1).
Holiness is both inward and outward. Being "holy" includes a different attitude than the "world's" attitude, and different thought processes, but it also takes into account one's actions, appearance, and physical stewardship. (stewardship being how we maintain our spirits and our physical beings. Both aspects are essential. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (20) For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s." Another reference is 2 Corinthians 7:1 :Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God and last but not least is Thessalonians 5:23 which states: Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This being said, I get exasperated when people says "it doesn't matter what we look like on the outside because God looks at our hearts. The point is , if one reads God's Word they will read how he wants us to take care of our appearance, how he wants us to dress, and so forth. So He does care what we look like on the outside. If we are filled with His Spirit, then we will want to obey Him and do as He asks. Including the way to dress, act and speak. This is what is meant when it says He looks at our heart. If we love Him, and our heart is right, then we will want to please Him in every way, not just the way we want to in a hit and miss fashion. We either believe all of His Word or none of it.
The life of holiness is a continual striving for perfection (Matthew 5:48; 2 Corinthians 7:1 and Philippians 3:12-16). No one is absolutely perfect, but everyone can be relatively perfect and mature. God expects continual growth in grace and knowledge and increasing production of spiritual fruit. (John 15:1-8; 2 Peter 3:18). Our daily goal is to overcome sin (John 5:14; 8:11). He IS NOT to sin, but if he does, he can receive forgiveness by repenting and confessing his sin to God. (1 John 1:8; 2:1).
Holiness is not a means of earning salvation, but a result of salvation. It comes by (1) faith, (2) love, and (3) walking after the Spirit. All aspects of salvation, including the Holy Spirit's sanctifying work, come by faith (Ephesians 2:8). If someone truly believes God, he will obey God's Word. Not only that, but if we love God we will obey God's commandments (John 14:15, 23; 1 John 2:3-6). Love is far more strict and more demanding than law or duty. The Holy spirit conveys a Holy nature. through the Spirit's guidance and power, the believer can overcome sin and live righteously (Romans 8:2-4; Galatians 5:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8).
There is much more to this subject of holiness, so I will close this for tonight and continue it in tomorrow's post. This is a very interesting subject if you will allow yourself to delve into the Word of God and read the scriptures which are being provided. I pray that you will allow God to speak to your spirit and investigate this subject more fully.
Good night to All and May God Bless,