“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” Philippians 3:7
As God faithfully continues to bring me to a deeper level of faith with Him, He asked me this question. “Who are you living for?” The immediate thought that came to mind was “you Lord!” but the more I contemplated the more I saw I was still living for “ME.”
I then took a long look at three areas of my life, which Jesus mentions in Matthew 6. When you give, when you pray and when you fast. I found that although I gave and prayed regularly, I did so in a selfish manor and fasting was hardly ever a thought. And that all pointed to “ME.”
When I looked at my giving, I saw when I gave offering’s (separate from tithe) I would look at the person, trying to judge whether they would spend it on drugs or drink. If I thought they would I would not give it to them.
Jesus taught, give and it will be given to you, not to stop and evaluate the situation, then use your own judgement to see if that person is of the correct state of mind to receive it. If He did that to us we would all be found wanting and going to Hell.
It is not the demanding of righteousness by which we are saved but the willingness to accept the free gift of God through Jesus Christ. If that person to which I give the money, smokes it or drinks it, he will stand before God and give account. God sees people according to their heart not their appearance.
Next I turned my focus onto prayer. I thought I pray all the time, then the Holy Spirit convicted me saying, “Yes, but most of your prayers are for your own benefit.” I started to really pay attention to each prayer and He was right, I was praying for “ME.” When I considered Paul’s life he only mentions his problems in a manor to help someone else, not to moan and groan “Poor is me.”
Paul understood the problems he faced were not there to make him miserable, but to be used by God as character builders, bringing him to the image of Christ Jesus. Paul learned to get himself out of God’s way.
This quote from Rick Warren really hits this point. “When you grasp the eternal consequences of your character development you are going to pray fewer ‘comfort me’ prayers and pray more ‘conform me’ prayers, saying, God use this problem to make me more like you. You know you are maturing when you see the hand of God in the baffling, seemingly pointless circumstances in your life.”
Next I turned my attention to fasting. In our society we are all about being satisfied. I found myself being consumed with thoughts about what I was going to eat and at all cost not to feel my stomach hungry, and that’s living for “ME.”
Jesus said in Luke 12:22-24 “…do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat nor for your body as to what you shall put on, for life is more than food and the body than clothing. Consider the ravens for they neither sow nor reap and they have no store room, nor barn, and yet God feeds them. How much more valuable are you than the birds!”
Jesus is saying, you are much more valuable to God than birds and He will provide ALL for you, even a meal. This is not proven because we never find ourselves in need.
Being blessed with plenty of food is not wrong, for it is a blessing of God, but being consumed with thoughts of your next meal is. God wants our thoughts to be on Him and His kingdom.
As for fasting, “Fasting is an act of humility before God, bringing revelation by the Holy Spirit of our true spiritual condition, leading to brokenness, repentance and change.” Bright B.
Fasting along with giving and prayer are not commands of God, they are evidences of your love for Him. There comes a time in your walk when you realize all God has done for you and how much He loves you and you say to Him “What can I give back to You?” When you reach that point, you gladly give up, or sacrifice, a little of what is important to you, your money, time and food for a closer walk with Him.
“Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 24-25.