Vain People

Biblical Fasting Isn’t about How Long You Fast: It’s about Intimacy and Fellowship

Praying Black Man

(Photo Credit: Thy Black Man)

Biblical fasting is about intimacy and fellowship with Jesus. Too many Christians become too focused on how long they should fast and not on the two primary purposes of fasting: intimacy and fellowship with Jesus. When you’re having genuine intimate relations and fellowship with Jesus, you’re not concerned about how long you’re fasting and clock-watching; your undivided attention is given to spending quality time with the Lord. If you’re truly spending quality time with the Lord, you don’t have time to stop and share with others via social media about how great of a time you’re having with Him or how hungry you are. Matthew 6:16 states, “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you. They have their reward.” Fasting is a deeply personal and sacred experience with God—not a vehicle for veiled boasting. Matthew 6:17-18 say, “But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”

Fasting Isn’t about Suffering

True biblical fasting is not about suffering. If you feel like you’re going to get sick due to hunger, then go ahead and eat. You don’t win brownie points with the Lord for getting sick because you ignorantly allowed yourself to attempt to reach some artificial time goal. When you fast, you do set aside a time that you plan to fast. You don’t, however, concentrate on ending the fast at the exact time you planned. Let this spiritual experience flow naturally. As you become more acclimatized to fasting, which comes from fasting regularly (not just a few weeks at the beginning of the year and a few days here and there), you become better able to fast the entire time you plan to fast, and hunger does not become a significant factor. When you have authentic fellowship with Jesus, He will take your mind off of natural food and give you spiritual food—food that lasts eternally. Revelation 6:16-17 proclaim, “They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

Just remember that it’s never about the length of time you fast.

Fasting Gives Birth to Desired Manifestations

When you have true intimacy and fellowship with Jesus, you become pregnant with the things He desires to see manifested in your life. You don’t, therefore, fast to get something; you fast purely for the intimacy and fellowship. You receive the things you need and desire from Jesus as a natural byproduct of the authentic intimacy and fellowship you have with Him. Concentrate on the intimacy and fellowship and let Him handle the things you need and desire to see manifest in your life. Matthew 6:33 declares, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” When you’re intimate with Jesus, you’re able to give birth to the phenomena you need and desires of your heart.

What You Need is Already on the Inside of You

For those who have received Salvation proper, Jesus has already placed on the inside of you everything you need for this life. II Peter 1:2-4 state, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According to his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world.” While fasting, you pray, read and study God’s Word and meditate on what His Word says. Fasting is about focusing on Jesus. As you devote your attention completely to Jesus, you grow in “the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,” which results in “Grace and peace” being “multiplied unto you.” The Apostle Peter informs us that Jesus’ “divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” Jesus has, therefore, given us everything that we need for this life. Think about everything you need in this life, and then think about the reality that Jesus has already made all those things available and placed them on the inside of you.

Conclusion

When Jesus is not the focus of your fasting, you’re simply going hungry or dieting—not fasting.  Jesus-centered fasting empowers you to become a more effective disciple and to operate consistently in Christ’s love, peace, protection and power. Make a greater commitment today to spend more quality time with Jesus through solemn fasting.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Don’t Give Up on Your Mentees

Mentoring

(Photo Credit: Every Day Is School)

Effective mentors never give up on their mentees.  Your mentees may make mistake after mistake, but they still need great mentors in their lives to continue to encourage them to do better.  We all have made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes.  Your punishment for your mentee, therefore, shouldn’t be to abandon him or her.  Too many phony mentors stop mentoring their mentees when the mentees aren’t performing well.  Many of these phony mentors simply desire to brag about what they’ve done for their mentees, so when the mentees are struggling to progress, this prevents them from engaging in vain self-promotion.  Your mentee should never have to wander around and search for a new mentor, and/or seek the guidance of another mentor simply because you don’t feel like being bothered with him or her any longer.

Authentic and effective mentors never make mentoring about them—they always make it about those they mentor.

To be an effective mentor, you have to have a true love for helping people.  The person you’re mentoring needs your help and love.  When you’re a selfish mentor, you lack the love necessary to be useful not only to your mentee but also to yourself.  True mentors don’t engage in self-aggrandizement; they aren’t vain people. You have some pathetic mentors who don’t want their mentees to have achievements greater than their own.

Mentoring is serious business.  If you’re not truly interested in helping people to progress in their various endeavors, then stop calling yourself a “mentor” and stop pretending like you’re so serious about mentoring. You need to recognize when you shouldn’t be mentoring anyone; you’re the one who needs to be mentored.

No one said mentoring is easy.  You’re going to experience some challenges and problems while mentoring. Those challenges and problems shouldn’t cause you to become a coward and run away from them and your mentees. Those problems and challenges should come to make you an even more effective mentor by you learning to tackle them boldly and directly.  Too many of our vulnerable young people are being lost because mentors are giving up on them.  Many mentors often give up on these young people simply because they sometimes didn’t do what the mentors told them to do.  Well, how many times did your mother and/or father tell you to do something and you didn’t do it? Exactly. Did your mother and/or father give up on you?  Why give up on your mentees then?

Your mentee shouldn’t feel more comfortable talking to another mentor and seeking the guidance of another mentor more than you.  When this happens, you’ve done some things that have made your mentee lack confidence in you.  One of the ways you can cause your mentee to lack confidence in you is to avoid him or her.  Constantly letting the mentee’s calls get answered by voicemail is a sure way to evince your disinterest. Stop avoiding his or her calls and be honest with him or her about how you’re feeling. Communicate your displeasures with him or her.  Don’t be afraid to demand him or her to do better than he or she is currently doing.  If you’re going to be an effective mentor, then you have to be willing to have frank discourses with your mentees.  Although the conversations may be unpleasant at first, they will learn how beneficial it is for you to be open and candid with them.

If your mentee seems to change his or her mind frequently about career goals, don’t become frustrated with him or her.  View this as an opportunity to assist them in becoming more focused and committed to specific career aspirations.  Working in collaboration with your mentee, devise a plan to aid him or her in accomplishing career aspirations.  He or she will have some specific things to work towards and focus on, diminishing those proclivities to shift frequently from one desired career to another.  If you give your mentee time to talk to you, you may discover that it’s really not changes in career goals he or she really has but simply a longing to have someone listen to him or her.  To be an effective mentor, you have to recognize when your mentee simply needs to talk to someone, and the successful mentor makes himself available to listen.

When another mentor has to devote a significant amount of more time to your mentee than you spend with him or her, you’re simply a pathetic mentor.  What you need to do is go back and sincerely assess whether you were committed to being a mentor in the first place.  Don’t let your failure to be there for your mentee result in him or her becoming a victim of depression, which can lead him or her to committing suicide.  Do you really want that on your conscious?

Your mentee needs you.  Don’t give up on him or her.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Spotlight

Spotlight

For many people, they have a great desire to be in the spotlight.  When many of these individuals get their chance to be in the spotlight they fail.  Many people are going to have to learn that they are simply not ready to have the spotlight turned on them.  Each time you have your opportunity to be in the spotlight and you keep failing while in it means it’s not your time to be in the spotlight.  Learn how to sit back and learn from others who are successful in the spotlight more before you try to claim the spotlight.  Some people will have to face the harsh reality that the spotlight is simply not for them.

You also have to understand that having the spotlight all of the time is not necessarily a good thing.  Some people are embarrassing themselves in the spotlight.  The only reason many people have the spotlight is people enjoy laughing at how stupid they are performing in the spotlight.  What may be even more sad than this is many of these individuals don’t know that people are laughing at them, instead of laughing with them.  Don’t become so desperate for attention that you will be willing to do anything to get it.  Unfortunately, too many people are willing to go to extremes to get attention.

If you’re really worthy of being in the spotlight, you will not have to beg or force you way into it.  Most people who authentically deserve to be in the spotlight have an opportunity to be in the spotlight.  Of course, there are many well-deserving people who should be in the spotlight but are not in it.  Many people who do thankless work and who do charitable work go without the proper recognition they deserve.  It is people like those who do thankless and charitable work who need to be in the spotlight and not people who are engaging in a whole bunch of foolishness.

A person is really vain who says that he or she deserves to be in the spotlight, especially when no one else says he or she deserves to be in the spotlight.

Many people who are in the spotlight and have been in the spotlight can tell you that it’s not all good as you think it may be to be in the spotlight.  If you’re always chasing after the spotlight, you will live a completely empty life.  Chasing the spotlight means you’re constantly looking for someone to validate who you are.  You must learn to validate yourself.  Don’t always look for someone else to let you know that you are special.

Don’t get angry when people laugh at you when you force your way into the spotlight and were not ready for it.  Learn to be patient and wait for your opportunity to shine to naturally arrive.

People are not going to think you should be in the spotlight just because you are always speaking the loudest, always feel you need to be the one who’s talking, always feel the need to make a grand entrance when you walk into a room, and/or always saying ridiculous things on your Facebook page just to get attention.

To succeed in the spotlight, you must earn the spotlight.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

The Righteous Unrighteous

It never ceases to amaze me how people whose lives are complete messes can find it within themselves to criticize large categories of groups and individuals. I guess some people forget that they are not in a position to criticize others, especially when their lives are a mess. When you criticize others, make sure you have cleaned up your own mess, or be prepared for people who are not afraid to unsettle, unnerve, and unhouse you to air your dirty laundry. Don’t get mad either—sunshine is the best disinfectant! There comes a time when you just have to call people out. You have to let folk know that they are a mess and are living in mess. You should not worry about how they are going to react either.

When you make blanket statements that you think will get you some attention, don’t be surprised when those statements come back to haunt you. People can use your vain efforts to get attention to serve as the catalysts for exposing truths that you know you don’t want to wrestle with in the public sphere. Some of you know you are not emotionally strong enough to respond to potential criticisms that may result from something untutored you have said simply to get a laugh, attention, and/or temporal fame. If many of you would concern yourself with improving yourself first and not others, then you might place yourself in a better position to be a qualified judge of others. Unfortunately, many of you don’t worry about what’s going on in your own life, in your own home, and with your own family and friends.  Instead, you concern yourself with trying to bring down others.

When you feel like you need try to criticize someone negatively, I simply ask you to check around your own home first for people and things to criticize. Be sure to criticize yourself. When you criticize yourself, make sure that you criticize yourself in the public sphere so that your self-criticism will match the public criticism you intend for others.

Trust me, I have no problem with you criticizing others, but I want you to be open to the same level of criticism and don’t feel like others are doing you wrong when they respond to your criticisms. If you’re bad enough to dish out negative criticism, be bad enough to take it when it returns to you.

It’s time out for people trying to get attention by hurting people with reckless statements and comments. You need to be more considerate of people’s feelings when you say some of the things you say. When you are not living a flawless life, you need to know that you are no more righteous than the next person. Don’t try to make anyone’s sins be more horrible than your own sins. Sin is sin!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison