On my Fasting page, you can see the link to Wikipedia…. a fascinating read for philip… it has a list of over 20 religious systems in the world …. (not to mention the thousands of independent churches and cults),… that all practice some form of Fasting… there were systems listed there I did not even know existed… and I thought I had seen them all after my first 32 years in the Religion Business.
What I have seen and experienced though, is how all the positive reasons for fasting (like drawing closer to God, building my relationship with Jesus, an aid to prayer and meditation, etc.) have been replaced… by the systems… to some form of guilt and repentance… repentance for the piece of dung that I am… constant confessions of my sinfulness… the mea culpa type thing (thru my fault, thru my fault, thru my most grievous fault)… preferably throwing in a little self-flagellation thingy as well. I need to stop sinning, live like Jesus did… (if you really loved Jesus then you would stop ________________ ) fill in the blank. Christian cults are the ugliest example of this.
But… every religious system has some form of this guilt thing... instead of setting us free it brings us under the need for the system… it’s a control thing… you have to need the system and all its wonderfulness. Enough of the horror… here is my story of freedom.
June 24th 1968… I wanted what I saw in this guy Henry Redyke… then discovered it was Jesus… I asked Henry how I could get what he has. He told me… I “needed to turn my life over to God and live only for Him… needed to stop running my own life and ask God to run my life from now on.” He led me in a prayer consistent with his religious system…(“Independent in the Baptist Tradition”) Then the freedom miracles began.
I had peace for the first time in my life. My closest thing to “peace” was when I finished that quart of scotch. That meant it was time to take a deep breath, pull out my pack of Camels and reach for one (I smoked 3 packs a day and tried to quit 3 times every year). As I did this, I heard a very clear, gentle voice say: “You never need to do that again.” I knew it wasn’t the guy in the other front seat so I turned around to see who was sitting in the back… no one was there. My first thought was… “This is really different”… then threw the pack of Camels out the window. I haven’t smoked in over 50 years now… went thru no withdrawal… had no cravings… didn’t put on 5 lbs from eating substitutes… none of the usual stuff. Jesus just “set me free”
The same thing happened with alcohol… Jesus just set me free. The same thing happened with philip the womanizer… there is only one woman in my life. And then I suddenly realized that my very foul mouth had simply disappeared…. I used to be able to speak sentences with just 4-letter words.
There are at least another zillion stories that have come out of these. Unfortunately, the religious system taught me that I had “really just stopped doing these things and Jesus simply helped me”. Within 6 months I was believing it… and became the most arrogant prig on the planet. prig means “a self-righteously moralistic person who behaves as if superior to others.”
There is only one person who ever lived the Christian life…. His name is Jesus… He is still the only one who lives it… replacing my life with His life. I die… He lives.
It’s question time!!!!