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Three days fasting and prayers - Wednesday, 26th November, 2008
Teacher: bro Felix Dordaa Mahama
Text: 1 Peter 4:1-6

“When you go to Rome, do what the Romans do”

Once we want something from a certain place, we have to identify ourselves with that place and live like the people there (“When you go to Rome, do what the Romans do”).

Once we change our state of life, we have to change the things that we do or the way we used to do them. In our Christian journey, this change of state of life comes when we make a decision (which we have to frequently do) to change our lives for the better. Probably, we were not with the Lord but have made the decision to come to the Him (some of us may not be here because of God but because of a man, a woman or a specific problem, only waiting for it to be solved and we will disappear; we are not with the Lord and we need to make a decision to come to Him). We may also have made the decision to move a step closer to the Lord.

There is no success without suffering

The very things that we do, places we go, things we say and think are what make us imperfect. As we move closer towards perfection, we have to change these things one after the other, and each change requires us to let go of something.

Peter, Andrew, James and John were fishermen, but when they made the decision to follow Jesus, they had to leave their fathers, the nets, the fish, the boats, the water and their daily source of living. So, a lot of things about us have to change once we begin to live a new life. We cannot continue to hold on to the old things. Jesus said we can’t put new wine into old wine skins.

  •  Matthew was a tax collector, and this was where he got his daily bread, but he let go of all the money he was making Matthew 9:9.
  • Zacchaeus let go of large amounts of money to do reparation because he had found a new life in Christ – Luke 19:1-8.

Close and personal

  • I had to change my plans when I rediscovered Christ.
    In 2005 when I was about completing university, my plan was to do my national service in one of the most endowed regions in the country where I would have access to classes and study materials to enable me prepare and sit GRE. This was to enable me apply for scholarship to further my education outside the country, preferably US or UK. I was subsequently posted to Kumasi metropolis of the Ashanti region, the second region of Ghana (Kumasi metropolis is the metropolis of the capital of the region. How convenient!). But after completion, when I returned home, I rediscovered Christ in a way that made me know that, as Theodore Roosevelt put it, “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education.” I realized that whatever action that I would take then would jeopardize my spiritual life greatly if I did not progress in this new life to a certain point.

    What then did I do? In order to be with the people from whom I rediscovered Christ, I transferred my national service from Kumasi metropolis to Wa municipality, of the Upper West region, one of the poorest, if not the poorest, regions in the country, where I reside. Also, since I became committed to evangelization and other services to the Lord, I suspended my plans to further my education abroad, as this would greatly jeopardize my work in the Lord’s vineyard.

Change of route

Our daily routine will have to change from

Home – work – pito (beer) bar – home
Home – prayer – work – prayer meeting – home – prayer – eat – bed

If we really want to live in a changed life, we first have to change our thinking; that there are certain things God has told us to do that are impossible (There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the one who gives me strength – Philippians 14:13); that we can find an effortless way of overcoming problems and temptation. Once we accept the facts as they are, we gain the mental strength to tackle them squarely. When we do this, we are ready to live our lives by God’s will and power, and not by human weakness.

Battle with the past

We must also be aware that once we start a new life, we will not find it easy with members of the old life. People will jeer at us. Even Renewal members who would not have reached the level we have entered into might turn against us. They may make comments like; won’t you also take some rest from your meetings? Don’t you get tired of praying all the time? But we are told that the first Christians were committed to the communal prayers and the breaking of bread.

Be realistic

For example,

  • I cannot refuse to study scriptures and pray all the time, and yet want to give inspiring teachings.
  • I cannot have certain habits I want to overcome and yet stay away from spiritual activities.
  • I cannot want to speak with the wisdom of Jesus and also want to seek the power of the devil.
  • I cannot want to pray to move mountains and yet vow not to love.
  • I cannot want to discern and cast out demons and yet choose not to fast and pray.
  • I cannot want to enter heaven and yet not bothered about my indecent, lustful, drunken, adulterous, idolatrous, cheating, etc. lifestyle
  • I cannot want to be a faithful follower of Christ and yet want to do things simply because others are doing them irrespective of whether Christ is pleased or not.

Living in new life often calls for a change of identity (Jesus’ mother and brothers – Luke 8:19-21).

We often have to learn how to live the new life from others, and this requires that we humble ourselves before them.

Prayer points

  • Higher mental strength (that is, against fear of change)
  • Examine our conscience (what changes do we have to make to overcome our problems?)
  • Increase in capacity
  • Grace to stand the test of the change
  • Prayer ability
  • Humility
  • Change in our homes, church, work places, etc

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