Jesus told a story about a man’s good habit of fasting and tithing. The problem was the man’s boastful self-righteousness. He was doing the right thing but in the wrong way. Jesus said, “Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14)
Self-righteousness is dangerous. It deceives us into thinking about ourselves with pride and becoming arrogant towards other, even spiteful. He thought so highly of himself that he looked down on others for not being as good as he was.
In a worship service, this man looked with scorn upon the man praying alongside him. In his heart he was contemptuous of the repentant man who humbled himself. In cutting himself off from his neighbor he cut himself off from God.
However, the tax collector (they were a pretty despicable lot) was doing the right thing in the right way. He was humbly praying, agreeing with God that his lifestyle choices were not in line with God’s will, God’s best. In his prayer for mercy, he was given mercy and forgiveness. God listened and answered his prayer. Not so for the self-righteous man.
Always do the right thing but do it in the right way. Pray with faith. Give cheerfully recognizing God as your source. Fast with humility with an eye towards serving others. Help others with joy. Love your wife as Christ loved the church! The Bible says that Jesus endured the cross because of the joy waiting him. (See Hebrews 12:2)
So when you fast, give, serve, pray do it with joy! “… Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11
If you have joined us our forty day fast…
- How is your fast going?
- What did you give up? Food, are you doing a Daniel fast, social media (I know shock and awe on that one), movies, television, soft drinks?
- Do you feel that you are drawing closer to God?
- Are there some areas that God has pointed out to you in your life that He wants to help you with?
- What have you learned?
- Any tips on fasting you’d like to share.
- By the way it’s not to late to join us in fasting and prayer.