|Posted by Pastor Maurice Johnson on January 6, 2016 at 8:35 AM|
Christian Growth - Fasting
Pastor Maurice Johnson
We are called to maturity as Christians; your growth is a biblical imperative, meaning heaven has determined that your growth is absolutely necessary. Your growth as a Christian is not an easy thing to achieve, it is and can be tedious, yes, the way of the transgressor is hard, but constant persistent godly behavior requires earnest effort. We are not posed to live as Christians and the world still endeavors to call us back to the things that separate us from God. We tend to believe that our maturing in Christ should be and is a natural occurrence or second nature, but nothing could be further from the truth. Just as we are responsible to maintain a life free from sin we are also responsible for fighting to maintain our identity and grow in the Lord. Dr. John MacArthur published an article entitled “What does it mean to “Work Out Your Salvation.”” In the article Dr. MacArthur writes the following:
“The principle of working out salvation has two aspects. The first pertains to personal conduct, to faithful, obedient daily living. Such obedience obviously involves active commitment and personal effort, for which Scripture is replete with injunctions, both negative and positive. The second aspect of working out one’s salvation is perseverance, of faithful obedience to the end.”
As Christians we face real obstacles that seek to block or stunt our growth; Martin Luther said that there are three primary obstacles that stand in your life to deter your growth, they are: 1) The World, 2) The Flesh and 3) The Devil. In spite of these obstacles we are required by the Word of God to struggle and to fight the good fight and to take hold of the eternal life to which you were called. The Apostle Paul describes his apprehension of faith in terms of a contest that must be conquered, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Fasting is an intricate facet of our growth, not only should we partake in the corporate fast, but we should involve ourselves personally in fasting and in a real commitment to regularly warring against the desires of our flesh. Fasting can be a struggle and your body may be suffering, but Paul said in Romans 8:18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later – NLT. For your studies while on the fast concerning the Christian struggle, I suggest the following questions and scripture reading from the lesson “Developing Christian Character” by Dr. R C Sproul.
Iam vos teneo (Now you know)
1. What do the following Scripture passages teach us about growth?
a. Hebrews 6:1–3
b. Ephesians 4:11–16
c. Philippians 2:12–13
d. Philippians 3:12–16
2. Read the following texts of Scripture. What does each contribute to understanding of “the world”?
a. Romans 8:18–23
b. 1 John 2:15–17
c. James 4:1–6
3. What do the following texts of Scripture teach us about “the flesh”?
a. Romans 7:7–8:2
b. Galatians 5:13–26
c. James 4:1–6
4. What do the following texts of Scripture tell us about “the devil”?
a. Ephesians 6:10–13
b. James 4:7–10
c. 1 Peter 5:8–9
MacArthur, Dr. J.. December 9, 2014 BQ052112. What Does It Mean to "Work Out Your Salvation"?. Retrieved January 4, 2016, from Grace To You: http://www.gty.org/resources/bible-qna/BQ052112/what-does-it-mean-to-work-out-your-salvation?Term=Work Out Your Salvation
Sproul, Dr. R. C.. (2001) Developing Christian Character, Lake Mary, FL Ligonier Ministries.