Three days fasting and prayers -28th - 30th May, 2008
Teacher: Felix Dordaa Mahama
Text: Philippians 3:7-9
Background of St. Paul
Everyone loves uniqueness and the Israelites were unique; and St. Paul could choose to hold on to this uniqueness without caring about the rest of the world.
He could choose to stick to the old laws which probably were easier to follow; e.g. Jesus said because of the hardness of the hearts of the Israelites Moses allowed them to divorce. Jesus also said the Israelites believed in dishonouring their parents provided they could give to God whatever they would have used to honour their parents.
The sacrifice St. Paul made
St. Paul left all these more attractive things and chose a more difficult path of righteousness. He considered all these things that he could have enjoyed as a loss. In other words these things, as pleasing as they were did not have any attachment in his heart anymore. He left these things for the sake of the knowledge of Jesus Christ, which is eternal life.
What should we do ourselves?
It is this very knowledge of Christ that we seek, and in order to obtain this knowledge of Christ, we also need to, like St. Paul, reckon all the past things which used to give us joy, and which we might consider as profit, but which hide from as the knowledge of Christ, as loss.
This is a call to depart from past indulgences and engage in a new life. We should not fantasize about the past joys that we derived from indulging in negative activities. In fact, this is one of the reasons why we find it difficult to break away from past habits.
We need to break away from the past habits such as
- Quarrels (home, school, work place)
- Selfishness (material, mental, spiritual)
- Living in illusion of past glories that prevent us from humbling ourselves and making a fresh start. We have to live in the reality of the present.
- Fashion in the Church which either tempt or divert the attention of brethren
Consequences of fantasizing
For example, if you should begin to relive and fantasize about the times you indulged in fornication or adultery with your boyfriend or girlfriend, or the drinking sprees you used to go on, or the highs you used to go on drugs, or the pains you used to inflict on your neighbours during quarrels, all the chicken you ate with embezzled money, etc, you begin to desire to relive those days. You may even begin to regret ever leaving those ways. This sets your mind as a fertile ground for the devil and his agents to play on, influencing you towards the evil past. It would mean we consider these past things as a valuable part of our lives and so we give Satan the right to tempt us into doing them.
If we used to sacrifice to idols, we now know that it is wrong and doing so will deprive us of the knowledge of Christ and the new life it brings. Even though we used to get quick results from such practices, we have to forsake them. We should remember that the knowledge of Christ brings a new life which is filled with peace, security, hope and comfort. Even though the past may seem very pleasant, let us remember that we seek something much more valuable.
Our prayer is to break away from (the fantasy of)
- Fornication and adultery
- Drunkenness and drugs
- Illusion of past glories
- Immoral fashion
We also pray for the following areas
- All those people who indulge in any of the above
- Church and renewal leaders
- Revival of the Renewal and the Church
- Revival and strengthening of ministries
- Successful youth congress
- Wars and disasters
- Successful campaigns and election