March, 2020

Walking In the Footsteps of Christ

The Lenten Season is a time of introspection, repentance, self-denial, and remembrance of God’s amazing love and sacrifice. It is also a time to ponder on our human frailty and our need for God’s divine presence and strength. During this sacred season, there are three biblical values I would like to impart.  Prayer, Fasting, and Solitude are spiritual disciplines that Jesus demonstrated during his earthly ministry. This short discourse draws upon scriptures as the foundation, with a morsel of personal testimony.

Prayer is a gift passed on to us from the Master himself Jesus Christ. The Bible reveals that Jesus frequently engaged in prayer (Matthew 4:1, Luke 3:21-22). Jesus did not just turn to prayer in times of trouble. Prayer was a vital part of his lifestyle and relationship with God, the Father.

To engage in prayer, he rose early (Mark 1:35), stayed up all night, (Luke 6:13). Jesus took time to intercede, offered pleas, and gave thanks (John 17). He prayed before, and after supernatural miracles, Matthew 14: 14-24, Mark 8:6, John 6:11, Mark 7:32-37, Luke 5:16. He always blessed the meal (Luke 24:30) and prayed for himself in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:39-46). 

Consistent commune in prayer with the Lord avails much; yields victory over sin, temptation, and the opponent.        1 Thessalonians 5:17 beacon us to “Pray without ceasing.”

Fasting is a spiritual discipline that dates back to centuries of religious and cultural norms. It is one that Jesus Christ himself embraced, as recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke. Jesus spent forty days and nights in the wilderness without food or water. Many biblical figures also fasted as an expression of grief (Deuteronomy 9:9-18) and intercession on behalf of the people (Esther 4:16). Daniel chapters 9 and 10 chronicles a young man’s devotion to God through prayer and fasting.

Jesus declared that only through prayer and fasting are specific forces of evil banished. (Matthew 17:21). In Matthew 6:18, he gives directives on the subject. Biblical fasting is a personal choice and a significant discipline for many Christians. Fasting strips one of self-reliance and molds us to reliance on the divine power of God, with spiritual, emotional, and physical benefits.

Solitude is intentionally taking time to disconnect from others and all distractions in order to spend time with God. God is the giver of time, yet it seems that everything else takes precedence over spending time with the one who holds our daily breath in his hand. We need solitude to examine our relationship with the Lord, to re-examine our ways, thoughts and allow the Spirit of God to renew, mold and rid us of that which ensnarls us so that we can have a chrysalis experience. Mark 7:20 reminds us of the importance of our thoughts.

I embrace the disciplines of constant prayer, fasting, and solitude, and testify that when activated in the life of Christians, they can evoke supernatural changes in our lives and communities.  I have witnessed supernatural outcomes on account of God’s grace and personal commitment.

May this Lenten Season evoke an incredibly transformative experience within you.

In Christ,

Pastor Olivet