Let me start by warning the reader that this article is not for those with a nervous disposition.
God is not impressed by our “hunger strike-” type of fasting (Isaiah 58:3-5).
I am likely to lose many friends after this article. However, my objective is not to make friends at the expense of the Gospel truth. It is very important that we don’t compromise the truth because we want to please each other.
We should learn from Jesus who never compromised to please the crowds. I recall an incident when He told a gathering that “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood you have no life in you” (John 6:53).
Most of His disciples when they heard this said, ‘This is hard saying who can understand this?”
The Bible says “From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” (John 6:67).
Jesus had just seen many of His would-be disciples leave Him. Yet, instead of trying to get them back or grieving over His loss, He turned to His twelve disciples and offered them the opportunity to leave too. What security! Most of us would evaluate success by the size of the crowds. But Jesus was different. Response to His message wasn’t what was important to Him. The thing that drove Him was the acceptance of His Father, not the crowds.
This is a very good lesson to those of us who minister the Word of God that the goal is not to please the crowds but to please the Father. I would rather the lose the crowds but have the support of the Father.
- Grace Tidings: Be careful you may be on a hunger strike instead of real fast!
- Mozambican pastor dies attempting 40-day Jesus fast
- Divine Insight: What are you looking at?
Having explained my position, I would like to now discuss a very controversial subject. This has to do with “Crossovers, prayer and fasting" by most of us believers at the beginning of every year.
Please note that I am not against prayer and fasting. In my Christian walk, I have participated in many prayer and fasting sessions at the beginning of the past years. I still pray and fast, however, with a different understanding than before.
I used to drive from Harare to a very popular mountain in Mashonaland Central Province for prayer. I would spend the whole weekend praying there.
During this time of the year most of us believers, believe it is the time for taking over and possessing our Promised Land. Most of us Ministers of the Gospel come up with some themes for the year. The year of Supernatural Abundance, The Year of Fruitfulness, The Year of Excellence, The Year Divine Power. Nothing really wrong with that in my opinion although I have a different view.
It is important to note that things don’t change simply because dates have changed. In fact, God lives outside time and so is the spirit realm.
As a man thinks in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7). Your life goes the way you think regardless of dates and time. What dominates your heart will stubbornly and resolutely dictate the pattern of your life hence the need to renew your mind. This renewal comes only through feeding on God’s Word not prayer or fasting important as both of them are.
We usually announce prayer and fasting days in our churches which can range from ten to forty days beginning of the year. Some of us don’t fully understand why we fast. I was a very good example of that. I did it because it was part of the church tradition and I also felt it was a way of pleasing God and showing Him how committed I was to Him. I couldn’t have been more lost.
Unless our prayer and fasting is aimed at opening our eyes of understanding (revelation knowledge) to see what we already have in Christ Jesus, we are on a hunger strike. True transformation comes through the renewal of our minds by reading and meditating on God’s Word not the change of dates or having a church theme.
I remember I used fast so that God would grant me favour, success, prosperity and divine health during the year. Little did I know that the things I was fasting for had already been granted as part of the finished work of Christ. I was actually on a hunger strike when I thought I was fasting.
The Bible makes it very clear that although He was rich yet for our sake, He became poor so that you and I would become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). Apostle John then tells us in his third epistle that he prays that we may “prosper in all things and be in good health even as our souls prosper. My prosperity, health, deliverance and success, is a done deal.
This means that I was fasting for the things that God had already made available more than two thousand years ago. All I needed to do was to appropriate those things through faith. Apostle Peter also tells us that God has given us “All things that pertain to life and godliness” and this is “according to our knowledge of Him” (2 Peter1:3).
Peter was saying everything we need comes through knowledge. This is because Jesus has already given us everything we could ever need when we became born again. We don’t need to get something new. We just need a revelation of what we already have in Christ.
My biggest problem was ignorance and unbelief. Most of us believers have this problem of ignorance. We have become so used to tradition and religion and this put the Word of God to no (Mark 7:13). It has become church tradition that we fast beginning of every year. Most of us believe that this act will put us in right standing with God. God will be so happy to see us fasting for forty days or whatever period.
While there is nothing wrong with fasting, let me humbly advise you that no amount of fasting will replace your ignorance about God’s Word and your privileges as a believer.
Ignorance can not be cured by prayer or fasting or deliverance. Ignorance is cured by the knowledge of the truth which is Christ.
One of the most popular scriptures during this time of the year is Isaiah 43:18 -19:
“Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth, Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”.
Most of us ministers of the Gospel like to reinforce this scripture from our pulpits and use it to form the basis of our prayer and fasting in the new year. What we don’t know is that this scripture primarily refers to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. This is the new thing that Prophet Isaiah prophesied. It has already happened. What is new is for us to understand this reality and tap into the glorious benefits that Apostle Peter refers to in his epistle in 2 Peter 1:3 which we have already highlighted above.
Personally, I believe my crossover happened only once when God moved me from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son Jesus Christ. I don’t see how I can keep crossing over every year. Where will I be crossing over from? I have already stated that as far as God is concerned, He leaves outside time. Jesus announced the Year of the Lord’s favour more than two thousand years ago, and as far as I am concerned this is the year in which I continue to live under. While there is nothing wrong with church themes because they help us focus on the objectives for that year, I only have one theme which is the Year of the Lord’s favour and I will continue to observe that theme until I go to be with my Father in heaven. I know such teaching is as rare as hen’s teeth and so I wouldn’t be surprised if I have ruffled feathers.
- Dr Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: dr[email protected] or Twitter @dougmamvura