Day 5 Prayer and Fasting
July 5, 2022
Have we ever wondered what Jesus meant when He said our righteousness must exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees?(Matthew 5:20). This is so important that Jesus said unless our righteousness does exceed that of the religious crowd, we cannot enter into the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus was saying that many of the religious people of that day were following the Law, but not in their hearts.
The Law was a system of external rules, regulations and rituals that were often followed to the most extreme point, but it did not reflect the true condition of the heart. John said something similar to the Pharisees when he called them a “brood of vipers” when warning them to “bring forth fruit that is consistent with repentance”. (Mt. 3:7-8) In other words, let your life show the character of what you profess and don’t just go through the motion of religious ceremony, such as the water baptism they were seeking.
In Matthew 5-7, Jesus deals with our heart issues. The Law says one thing, but Jesus is saying “dig deeper”. Murder, adultery, hatred, unforgiveness are first heart issues. As we have just begun our fast, let’s ask the Lord to reveal issues of the heart. Let’s be honest with ourselves and ask Holy Spirit to reveal those religious rituals that we may mistake for a real change of heart. Do we really love as we may think or is it only when all is going well in our relationships? Are we really pursuing God as we might think or are we going through the motions to check off our daily list? As John demanded of the Pharisees, are we truly bringing forth fruit consistent with our confession?
I am asking us to make this fast a very personal time of pressing into God. Allow Him to perfect everything in us that He desires and let’s be willing to let go of what hinders our walk; our prayer life; our faith!
Today is July 5th. Five is a number of grace and I pray God’s grace over each of our hearts as He reveals those hidden hindrances that we may have covered so well through the years, that we are unaware they are present.
Have a grace filled day!