Theme of the Week: Is the Christian Religion Hypocritical or Real?
Bible Verses: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6 NIV
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:16-18, Matthew 5:6
We all have appetites. Appetites for food, obviously, but also for other things like money, power, success, sex, recognition, and more. These appetites and desires are not bad in and of themselves, but they must be aligned with the teachings from the scriptures, or they will get out of control. Many years ago, I heard Andy Stanley in a sermon say that all appetites or desires have these three things in common. They always want more, they always want it now, and they never go away.
Andy used the story of Jacob and Esau in Genesis 25 to drive home this point by referencing how Esau traded away his birthright for a bowl of stew. That birthright was an incredible blessing, both physically and spiritually, that would have given him a very different future. His appetite for the “now” was unchecked, and everything changed.
We can’t let our appetites or desires be left unchecked. Fasting and prayer focus us on hunger. They focus us on doing an internal audit of our inner life in partnership with the Holy Spirit. These times of fasting and prayer begin to reveal what we’re really hungry for. As mentioned before, if we hunger for things of this world, we will never be satisfied and will be left feeling empty. But if we hunger for things of God, we will be full and overflowing.
This discipline is not a rule for religion; rather, it’s a practice or pathway for us to have a deeper relationship with Jesus. As we talked about yesterday, fasting and prayer focus on God and act as a mirror to help us see what we are filling our lives with. So, we empty ourselves of worldly desires to have God refill us with his heart, that we would begin to love the things he loves.
The theme of the week: it’s not about religion or religious activities. But rather, it’s about the relationship.
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