The Blessed Life: Four Principles God Promises to Honor
Understanding and practicing the following seven principles will make you a seeker after God. It is what you were designed for and is what the Lord expects of you. The very essence of following Christ is to imitate Him in His humility. Though He was God Himself, He set aside his power and glory to become part of the creation. Jesus exemplified a humble life, which every Christian is to emulate. Moreover, pride is the opposite of humility, and we know from the Scriptures that God judges and actively opposes the proud James , 1 Peter Not just non-Christians, but proud Christians can expect the opposition of the God of heaven and earth.
The admonitions to be humble in Philippians, James and 1 Peter are all written to a Christian audience, not non-Christians. God has made plain that He loves to support and dwell with the humble in heart.
Fasting is not the only tool to help humble ourselves: there is also confession of sins, meditating on the life and example of Christ, and other ways to develop humility. However, fasting is an important tool and one that has been neglected in the Western church. It is important not to take fasting too far in thinking that it is the sin qua non of the Christian life. The Pharisees in the New Testament showed that a person can be a regular faster and still be self-righteous, proud and greedy.
It is indeed important, and should be practiced regularly. It was always assumed that fasting would be part of the Christian life after Jesus died and rose from the dead.source url
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There was no need to fast when Christ was present, because there was no need to mourn over the absence of God, but once He ascended, the era of fasting returned to the people of God. We know from early church documents like the Didache that it was the practice of Christians in the first century to fast every Wednesday and Friday until 3pm. They would have a meal in the evening, which would be all the food they took in for the day.
There would be special times of extended fasting just as there were before Christ came, but regular fasting is also important. The list goes on and on. Sometimes people fasted for a day and sometimes for as long as 70 days Mordecai and all the Jews in the Persian Empire or days Nehemiah, chapter 1. Different circumstances require different lengths of fasting.
For the Christian seeking to humble himself before God, fasting must be a regular part of his or her life. The typical prayer life of the first-century Christian and the average Christian in Asia or Africa is markedly different from that of the Christian in America and Europe. Of course, there are exceptions, but by and large, there is little to no dedication to regular prayer among Christians in the West. Epaphras Colossians , 13 shows us that without consistent, dedicated prayer you can count on significantly less happening in the lives of your loved ones and in the world at large.
The Scriptures admonish us to pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Bradshaw, the pattern for first-century pious Jews and Christians was to pray two or three set times per day, in addition to praying continuously throughout the day. Many Christians lift up prayers during the day as they go about their business, which is a good thing and is modeled in the Scriptures e. The pattern is to pray two or three set times per day like Daniel Daniel Repeatedly, we are told to pray night and day in the Scriptures.
Luke 18 shows that we are to pray night and day.
We see in 1 Timothy 5 that widows who did not pray day and night were considered lovers of pleasure and were not to be given financial help. Hebrews show that the twice daily burnt offerings at the temple were a type of the twice or more daily prayer offerings that Christians are to have before the Lord. Combined with Bible reading, the Christian should be praying two or three set times every day totaling a couple of hours. Similar to the discipline of prayer two or three times a day is the discipline of taking in the Word of God.
The Scriptures need to be meditated upon, read, or heard two or more times per day Deut , Josh so that we can know and do the will of God. Every day, pious Jews in the first century would recite from memory a few passages from Deuteronomy and Numbers called the Shema. They would also read the Scriptures to each other, recite from memory various passages, and mediate on the word of God.
This became the practice of Christians as well. The word of God also comes in other ways. If God speaks to you through a prophetic message, dream, angelic visitation or any other means, then it is the word of God and you must obey and follow the Lord. Of course, these revelations need to be weighed against the Scriptures and talked over with godly friends, so that you can accurately sense what God has said, but if God has spoken to you, then you must obey Him. Some wrongly believe that believing and practicing the spiritual gifts like prophecy and word of knowledge take away from the authority of the Scriptures, but it is the Scriptures themselves that authenticate the legitimacy of hearing from God in these ways.
We must have the courage to obey the Scriptures in these ways even if it does not match our prior experience. As with anything else, there is much to learn and there will be many growing pains, but by actively cultivating the art of hearing God you will be able to know His will and able to seek Him much more specifically and wholeheartedly.
Luke tells us that there is extraordinary joy in heaven when sinners repent and turn to God Luke Why will you die, O house of Israel? Repent and live! There is an extraordinary story of King Ahab who was an exceedingly wicked king of Israel.
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We know that He has the power to keep His promises. We can develop faith in Christ through humility and doing His will and keeping His commandments. Heavenly Father blesses those who have faith to listen to and obey His Son.
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We want to learn His will and keep His commandments. We believe in Christ, and we believe that He wants us to keep all His commandments. We show our faith by obeying Him. We pray in faith for strength to conquer temptation. As we live a specific commandment, we learn the truthfulness of it by experience see John We also grow in faith by hearing and reading the word of God see Romans ; Helaman —8. As we obey God, He blesses us. He helps us change the desires of our hearts. Through our faith in Jesus Christ, He can heal us, both physically and spiritually. Moroni — Moroni Ephesians Ether Hebrews Doctrine and Covenants — James — Repentance through the Atonement of Jesus Christ is another important principle of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Our faith in Christ and our love for Him lead us to repent, or to change our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors that are not in harmony with His will. Repentance includes forming a fresh view of God, ourselves, and the world. When we repent, we feel godly sorrow and return to Him with full purpose of heart. We stop doing things that are wrong and continue doing things that are right. To repent, we recognize our sins and feel remorse, or godly sorrow.
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We confess our sins to God. We ask God to forgive us. We do all we can to correct the problems our actions may have caused; this is called restitution.
As we repent, our view of ourselves and the world changes. As we change, we recognize that we are children of God and that we need not continue making the same mistakes over and over. If we sincerely repent, we turn away from our sins and do them no more. We resist any desire to commit sin. Our desire to follow God grows stronger and deeper. Sincere repentance brings several results.
Our guilt and sorrow are swept away. We feel the influence of the Spirit in greater abundance. And when we pass from this life, we will be more prepared to live with our Heavenly Father and His Son. Even after we have accepted Christ and repented of our sins, we may fall short and sin again. In addition, we should continually improve—develop Christlike qualities, grow in knowledge, and serve more effectively.