Psalm 36:9: For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.
A fountain is a symbol of “no limit.” It is not a fountain, if the stops and starts. A fountain has an endless flow about it, especially when it has to do with God.
God is being presented in the focus verse as the source of an unending flow of life. Life is so important because death is man’s enemy (1Corinthians 15:26). The greatest help therefore is life and that life is in Jesus. John said that in him (Jesus) was life and the life was the light of men, so without the life there is darkness, we get lost and in need of being saved (John 1:1-5).
After years of being imprisoned by death, life came knocking at the door, and when we opened the door, we get to engage with divine life, we enter into a new world (Colossians 1:13), we become new creatures (2Corinthians 5:17), running anew with the life of God. We feel new, and we have to learn new habits, we become aware of the new desires welling up inside, we want to fast, pray, read the bible, because we want to maximise the new life. Jesus said that when we pray, we engage with the God the source of life, when we fast we reduce in the natural forces to increase in the spiritual forces (Matthew 6:6-18). And when we read the bible we engage our souls in the word of life.
Food is a symbol of natural life, but Jesus said that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. And he said this while he was fasting. Fasting is classically defined as abstinence from food for spiritual purposes.
Fasting is about curtailing your natural appetite to expand your spiritual appetite, fasting helps to enhance your spiritual capacity.
Jesus instituted fasting for the disciples, saying that when he is taken away from them, they will fast (Mark 2:18-21). And fasting has marked points of major advance for the kingdom of God. It was at a moment of fasting that the major thrust of the church into the gentile territory was launched (Acts 13:1-3).
When they finished their missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas, commissioned the elders in the churches they founded with fasting and prayer (Acts 14:23).
The church is run on the life of God, and regular practice of fasting should be part of our lifestyle, to release more of it.
A demon represents the operation of death, and fasting represents the diminishing of natural life to release spiritual life. Therefore the forces of darkness are pushed back in fasting, while the angelic hosts are empowered.
Daniel fasted and a high ranking angel, Gabriel, was dispatched to minister to him. He fasted for 21 days, deciding to avoid certain food, and deprived himself of certain luxury and Gabriel told him that the Prince of Persia arrested him for 21 days till angel Michael came to his help (Daniel 10). Fasting is used to shift spiritual atmosphere. Fasting is a means of spiritual warfare.
Fasting opens us up to the thoughts of God, his strength and his ability. It is waiting upon to Lord to gain spiritual mileage running for his life, climbing on wings like the eagles (Isaiah 40:28-31). Fasting is not an easy thing. It is sacrifice.
However, fasting can be done wrong. Jesus said that fasting should not be done merely as religious observance, but as connection with God.
Prayer is another spiritual activity that God promises to reward. Jesus said the God who sees us secretly when we pray will reward us openly. God rewards with his life. The ministry of Jesus was marked by numerous incidents of praying.
Though he did many things in the public he did much more in the secret as he spent extended time with God. And that was his the spiritual engine room for the result he got publicly. He did not try to force his prayer life on his disciples, but modelled it to them.
Power is linked to prayer. James said that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous makes tremendous power available (James 5:15-18). Those who pray are close to God, because prayer is about time with God, the one who is the fountain of life.
Prayer marks the life of Elijah. He prayed fervently that it will not rain and it did not, and through that he draw a people back to God, restored the knowledge of God to a nation. Prayer is separation, it is isolation from other human association to experience divine elevation. Prayer is a means of spiritual warfare.
Read the bible
The word of God is called the word of life. Jesus was introduced as the Word. John wrote: In the beginning was the word and the word with God and the word was God (John 1:1-5).
Paul harped on the need for us to give attention to reading, because what goes on in the mind goes on in the life. We should guard our hearts with all diligence because out of it flows the issue of life. When we read the bible, we engage the heart with the thoughts of God, which has the power to transform us.
Jesus was definitely conversant with the scriptures. He entered the temple and read from the book of Isaiah (Luke 4:16-21). He told the Pharisees that the scriptures is not an end in itself, but a means to an end (John 5:39-40). We need to be able to view the Bible from the perspective of Jesus’ mission and person or else we will come to the wrong conclusion, as the Pharisees did, though they read the scriptures extensively.
While fasting is to reduce us so that we can increase in divine life, prayer is to reduce human association in favour of divine association, to climb up to the mountain of God, to experience him, and reading the bible is to reduce in human opinion and gain divine opinion. That is the threefold cord that cannot be easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). So, we need to have a prayer habit, and fasting habit and a bible reading habit.
- On Fasting (mydelightandmycounsellors.wordpress.com)
- Matthew 7:21 (The Sinner’s Prayer) (tworiversblog.com)
- Holier than thou! (lionelsneeddailyinspiration.wordpress.com)
- Jesus Begins His Ministry – Mark 1-2 (graceofourlord.com)
- Wonder (wheatsaltwineoil.wordpress.com)
- What Are Your Values? (quildonwrites.blogspot.com)
- Excellence (takeaminute.net)
- Getting to Know Jesus: Mark 3 (natalieedwards18.wordpress.com)
- The Holy Spirit and Slander (wsforchrist.com)