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The Stewardship of Fasting by J.G. Morrison (Part 1)

stewardship

The following excerpt is from The Stewardship of Fasting by J.G. Morrison (1871-1939), who was known as the “Soldier of the Cross.”

Dr. Morrison makes a compelling case for why fasting, like prayer, is a responsibility we’ve been entrusted with by God. We are responsible for all the divine power God is able to release because we fast. When God’s people practice fasting rightly, it enables Him to do what otherwise He cannot do — for us personally, our church, our community, our nation, and the age in which we live. For this responsibility and its possibilities, we will some day give an account to Jesus.

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Stewardship means that we owe somebody something. The very word “steward” from ancient times till now, has possessed the significance, first that something has been accorded for which that person designated as a steward is responsible, and second, that such a responsible person must some day give an account to the one who made him a steward for the things over which he exercised control and responsibility.

A steward of goods, properties or money, must primarily care for them, protect them, invest them, keeping a careful record, and then some day give an account to the one who made him a steward, for the trust reposed in him.

But money, property and goods are not the only things that have been entrusted to God’s people. He has entrusted to us opportunities, talents, enablements, and empowerments of various kinds. Over these He has made us stewards. For the use and investment of these we are also responsible. And for the faithful discharge of this stewardship we are one day to give an account.

We owe it to God to invest every one of these bestowments, and the Scriptures plainly teach that for such investments we must give a solemn account at the judgment. (See Matt. 12: 36 and Rom. 14: 12.)

As an illustration, notice what a marvelous bestowment is one’s ability to pray. The Scripture has declared that its influence is without knowable limits. Read statements like these:

“Again I say unto you that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 18: 19).

“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if ye shall ask anything in my name I will do it.” (John 14: 13-14).

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you” (John 15: 7).

Does this not bestow upon every one of God’s genuine children a stewardship of prayer for the investment and use of which we are held responsible, and for which we must some day give an account? Such an accountability must cover not only what we actually did bring to pass through prayer, but it must also include an accounting for what we might have accomplished as well.

In a similar way, we desire to set forth… the stewardship of fasting. It is our contention that God has bestowed upon us the ability, the opportunity, the privilege and the duty of fasting. That this is an obligation for which we are responsible, and for which some day we must give an account. That when God’s people sincerely fast, it enables God to do what otherwise He cannot do. That it places something in His hands that enables Him to release power that otherwise He cannot release.

When God’s people sincerely fast, it enables God
to do what otherwise He cannot do.
It places something in His hands that enables Him to
release power that otherwise He cannot release.
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That when we sincerely fast it enables God to do for us, personally, something that He otherwise cannot do. That it enables God to do for the local church of which we are members, what otherwise He cannot do. That it enables God to do for the community of which we are a part, what otherwise He cannot do. That when we fast it enables God to do for the nation, and for the age, what otherwise He cannot do.

That consequently we owe it to God to fast, and to do it sincerely, faithfully and regularly. That God’s people are responsible for all the divine power that He is able to release because we fast. That for this responsibility and its dynamic possibilities we must some day give an account personally to Jesus our Lord.

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Fasting is the hungry handmaid of prayer. So it only follows that if we will one day give an account to God for how we utilized the privilege and power of prayer, we will one day give an account for how we utilized her handmaid, fasting.

To be clear, fasting is not a requirement by God for salvation. It does not achieve something with Him in terms of our salvation.

In the Old Testament, Jewish believers were required to fast once a year on the Day of Atonement. But today, Christians are not required to fast. We no longer have to sacrifice the blood of a lamb for forgiveness. Jesus is the Lamb of God who died for all.

We are not under law, but under grace—we are saved by grace through faith, not by our own works (see Eph. 2:8-9). We cannot earn our salvation. It is a gift from God that we receive when we put our faith in Jesus Christ and the finished work of the crossWe do not fast to obtain merit with God or to rid of sin. Only the blood of Jesus can do this.

Although fasting is not a requirement, Jesus did plan on you and me fasting as part of the lifestyle of a disciple. God has entrusted us with the privilege of fasting. Oh that we might utilize it and invest it wisely for the sake of His kingdom and His glory.

Questions:

  • Have you ever thought of fasting as a commodity you have been entrusted to steward? And that for the faithful discharge of this stewardship you will one day give an account to Jesus? 
  • Do you believe that when you utilize fasting as the handmaid to prayer, it places something in God’s hands that enables Him to release power that otherwise He cannot release? Do you believe that when you fast, it enables God to do what otherwise He cannot do — for you personally, your church, your community, your nation, and the age? If so, does your practice of fasting reflect this belief? 

 

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