The Secret Sauce: Prayer and Fasting
Today we’re going to start a new talk called: The Secret Sauce: Prayer and Fasting. When we end the year, we always go into the next year, starting with the first 21 days, committed to God. It is just a special time of dedication. You know, I believe in giving God the first of our lives. I believe in giving God the first of your day. I believe in giving God the first of your dollar. I believe in giving God the first of your heart and commitment. I believe in you giving him the first of your year. So we’re going to give these first 21 days of special prayer and fasting to God. So, we’re going to talk about what that means and what that looks like. It’s the secret sauce, I believe, in helping us go from good to great in our life and our walk with Jesus, Mt. Carmel Church.
Sometimes in our Lives, Good is the Enemy of Great
Jim Collins wrote this book called Good to Great. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend the book, but he talks about how good is the enemy of great. That is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. Few people attain great lives in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life. Have you ever had to make a decision to give up something good in exchange for something that might be great? Sometimes in our life, good is the enemy of great. If we settle for good, we may never achieve greatness. There could be something that’s good like sometimes how you figure out whether I need to move on from something, or move on from a habit or move on from a situation is that we try and find what’s wrong with it, Mt. Carmel Church.
I encourage you, don’t always look for what’s wrong with something before you move on. Like is it something great? I was talking to my kids just over the holiday weekend. We have two that are in college that are home, and we’re talking about what they are going to do after they graduate. We already have one that’s thinking about their masters when they graduate from college. I’m like, what? And so we’re just talking about, and I just want to encourage them as I listened to them. Don’t think about what you can do. Well with that degree, I could do this, or I could do that. I could do a lot of things, but what’s going to really fulfill you? Let’s look for something great to do. There’s a lot of good jobs out there, but I don’t want a good job. I want to fulfill this goal.
I want to do something that’s going to be great. We’ll be a part of something great. So that’s what we’re talking about today. The secret sauce is helping us go from good to great in our walk with Jesus. These are things I think are of key ingredients of being successful are in our walk with Jesus. So if you’ve got your Bibles, let’s get those out. You’ve got your sermon notes there in your worship guide. You can follow along with the sermon notes there or you can get them on the YouVersion Bible app. You can follow along in the events section of that. If you’ve got your Bibles, open them up. We are expecting for God to speak to us every time we open up the Bible. That’s why we get excited about it because he wants to talk to us more than we want to talk to him, Mt. Carmel Church.
So we get excited every time you open your Bibles. Let’s open them up this morning to Matthew chapter 6. I’m going to read some scriptures here at, Mt. Carmel Church. This is Jesus talking. It’s in the red, so it’s really important. The secret sauce. Matthew chapter 6 says this, verse five, and when you pray. Everybody say, when you pray. You shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets that they may be seen by men. Notice who they want to be seen by assuredly, I say to you, they have the reward, but you, when you pray, here’s what you do. When you pray, go into your room and when you have shut your door, pray to your father who’s in the secret place and your father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathens do for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore, do not be like them. For your father knows the things that you have need of before you ask him. I want to jump down to verse 16 just for time sake. Moreover, when you fast. Say when you fast. Yeah, Mt. Carmel Church has your back. When you fast, do not be like the hypocrites that sound familiar with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Notice who they’re fasting to. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. It sounds really familiar, but you, when you fast, anoint your head, wash your face so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your father who is in the secret place and your father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Let’s pray. Father, I just thank you for the reading of your word. Holy Spirit, I ask you to come and speak to us. I pray that you bring this word alive. I pray you apply it into our hearts. I pray, Lord, you will help me to speak with clarity and with understanding that we will all get what you want us to get this morning. That we will understand your truths and apply it where we need to apply it. So Lord Jesus, we give you all the praise. It’s in your name we pray. Somebody say amen.
Secret Sauce: What does that even mean?
Secret sauce. What is the word? Secret sauce means it’s an element or a quality or ability or practice that makes something or someone successful. What’s your secret sauce? What’s your secret sauce to being distinctive or setting you apart. It’s also called the essential yet largely unknown ingredient to one’s success here, at Mt. Carmel Church.
If I was to talk about the secret sauce of Christianity, secret sauce of your relationship with Jesus, this part is very important. Two things I think are very important that we’re going to talk about today are Prayer and fasting. It’s a secret sauce. It’s something that I think helps us be successful in our relationship with God. If we subtract these things from our walk with Jesus, we’re not going to be as successful as he wants us to be. So what is about prayer and fasting? Prayer. We hear a lot about, you know, we should pray, you know, people talk a lot about prayer. There are a lot of sermons on prayer. We’re going to talk about prayer. So come back in the next few weeks and we’re going to talk about prayer and how to pray boldly, how to pray specifically, and what kinds of prayers. We’re going to break it down.
So if you have trouble praying, if you have trouble knowing what to pray, there was a time in my life where I was like, “Okay dude, God, um, help me have a good day. And uh…” I used this as a legitimate prayer, I’m struggling to figure out what else to say about how you pray. So if you’re struggling with knowing how to pray, if you never been able to pray for an hour, well you to start with praying five minutes. You’ll start with praying here at, Mt. Carmel Church. We’ll break that down. So it’s not this week though. So don’t pay attention to that until next week. But then, but the other part that’s not talked about much is fasting. I was raised in church and I never heard any messages on fasting. Nobody ever taught me about fasting. I thought it was something for weirdoes to do. Why would you fast? Once I realized that fast wasn’t talking about speed. Take a second.
What is Fasting?
Once I realized that fasting was talking about like, you really don’t eat food, that’s what fasting means. I was like, I’m out. Skip. You know how you have a song? You’re like, let’s listen to something else. You say, “Alexa, skip.” You know, that’s what I wanted to say. When you’re talking about fasting Mt. Carmel Church. I’m like, “Preacher, skip. Let’s get on to somewhere where I can eat and love Jesus. That’s all I want to do.” So, what does it mean to fast?
Notice what it says here in Matthew. Chapter 6 says, and when you pray, and then in Matthew chapter 6 verse 16 and when you fast, so there is a time to pray and there’s a time to fast. So what is fasting? Let me tell you what fasting is not. Fasting is not merely going without food for a period of time.
There are 4 kinds of Fasts
That’s called starvation. That’s not what fasting is about. Nobody’s trying to starve anybody. That’s not Christian. It doesn’t make you a more Christian if you can see how long you can go without food. That’s not fasting in of itself. It’s not something done by just a bunch of religious fanatics. It’s not something done only on special occasions or once a year. Let me give you some types of fast. They’re there in your notes, but if you want to follow along, there are different types of fast that you can be a part of, Mt. Carmel Church. One is an absolute fast. All these are found. The first three are found in the Bible. The fourth one we kind of added, but the first one, absolute fast. No food or water. Again, I don’t recommend that for a long period of time. A normal fast is no food but water allowed.
The third one is a partial fast abstaining from some foods, some drinks or things, but also some people. This will include a fast abstaining from certain things, whether it be TV, video games, social media, et cetera. So those are just different types of fast and we’ll talk about the purpose of the fast, but again, the biblical definition of fasting is abstaining from food for a spiritual purpose. That’s a key part. A lot of people leave that out when we talk about prayer and fasting. Maybe we didn’t do a great job in marketing, Mt. Carmel Church. You know, we talked about 21 days of fasting, but really it is 21 days of prayer and fasting. 21 days of just fasting is called hungry. But what we’re wanting to do is 21 days of prayer and fasting. In other words, it’s not just about what I’m subtracting, like I’m taking food or TV or social media or something, whatever I’m trying to take out of my life, it’s what am I adding.
Fasting Helps Reveal Lordship
What am I moving towards? What am I getting more of? God. So we’re doing 21 days of prayer and fasting, not to focus on what I can’t have, but it’s talking about what God wants to pour into my life. Here’s a couple of things about fasting that I think are important. Fasting helps reveal Lordship. Who’s going to be the Lord of our life? Why do we fast again? Number one may be why food? Why? What is the big deal about food? There’s no other thing in my life. I don’t know about you. There’s no other thing in my life that I say no to that’s a bigger deal than saying no to food. Like for me to say no to TV. That’s admirable and that’s cool and maybe I need to do it a little bit, but food is something I have to have.
So when I choose more prayer or more of God instead of food, that’s a big deal. That’s something you have to have physically. TV, I don’t have to have, you know, so it’s good. Maybe I want to take 21 days off of social media. That’s great. That’s fine, but I don’t have to have social media. But when I say, God, instead of eating lunch today, I’m going to spend my whole lunch hour praying or reading my Bible. That’s a big deal when I say, you know what? Instead of going out to eat, I’m going to stay home. Instead of going out, my friends are going out to eat. I’m going to say home and I’m going to spend that time praying. That’s a big sacrifice. You’re saying no to something. You need food for something for God. So that’s why food is important with us here at, Mt. Carmel Church.
Why? It’s a significant part of fasting, but it helps us reveal Lordship. And what I mean by that, here’s what fasting does. Fasting is that when we decide who’s going to be Lord in our life, our spiritual desires or our fleshly desires. When you say no to food or something, fleshly desire, you’re putting God in a seat of Lordship in your life. In other words, who’s going to be the boss of my life? That’s where my little kids would like buddy, one of my kids, you know, everybody’s home for the holiday, so it’s ramped up, you know? And so one of them said, “Hey, don’t do that.” Well, the other one said, “You’re not the boss of me.” Well, we have that same struggle going in our life between our flesh and our spirit.
Fasting helps us turn up the Volume of God in our life, and turn down the Volume of Temptation
Paul talked about what I want to do, I don’t want to do. You know what he’s talking about? It’s like the things that it’s this war in our flesh, Mt. Carmel Church. Like I want to do the right thing, but I find myself being tricked by the wrong. Who’s going to be the Lord? Fasting helps us reveal Lordship. When I can say no to my flesh that says, “Eat that, drink that, whatever it is.” I say no to that, and I say yes to the spirit. It’s helping me get in a position for the voice of my flesh gets weaker and the voice of my spirit gets stronger. Fasting helps us turn up the volume of the voice of God in your life and turn down the volume of temptation. This is one of the big parts of fasting. It helps you when you’re having fleshly temptations.
Once you keep saying no to them and yes to something else, all of a sudden your spirit gets stronger and your flesh gets weaker. That’s one part of the benefit of fasting. Here’s the other part. In Galatians 5:24 it says, and those who are Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires, crucified the flesh, crucified or fleshly desires. Why do we need to do that? Romans 8:8 says so then those who are in the flesh cannot please God. We want to please God. We want to honor God so I can’t let my flesh run my life. Here’s a good thing. That’s a good thing. It’s not a good thing, but here’s the common thing that said, “Well, if it feels good, do it.” That’s flesh. If I did everything my flesh wanted to do, what kind of life would I live?
That’s what why we’re trying to, I don’t do whatever I want to do. I don’t do just everything that feels good because not everything that feels good is good. So we’re going to say I want my spirit to be in charge. Fasting helps us do that. It helps us get a position where I say no to what I want and yes to what God wants. Reveal his Lordship. That’s the first thing. Number two, fasting is about a greater purpose.
It’s not about what we Move Away from, it’s what we move Towards
It’s not just about what you can do without. This is important about prayer and fasting. I want you to understand this about the better 21 days of prayer and fasting is so important, Mt. Carmel Church. It’s not just about what we do without, it’s about a greater purpose. It’s about something bigger. We have to have something bigger. It’s not just about what we move away from, but it’s about what we moved towards.
Notice about fasting. Fasting doesn’t move God. God’s not impressed with your fast. Fasting doesn’t move God to do something. Fasting moves us into a position to hear God more clearly. Fasting moves me into a position to say no to the wrong things and yes to the right things. Fasting doesn’t impress God so that he will start acting. Fasting moves me into position that I’m more in sync with his voice. It’s a value of fasting. That’s why we want to do it. It’s not because I’m trying to impress him. Say, oh yeah, God’s help with, I went all day without eating. That’s great, but did I get in line with him more than that day or did I just spend that day starving?
We don’t impress him with our deprivation. We impress him with our devotion that is found here at Mt. Carmel Church. It’s about our heart. It’s like, do I want more of him?
That’s what’s really going to move the hand of God. Fasting is supposed to be positive focus and not negative and focused. Every year around December, since we started doing this several years ago, every year around December starts getting to the holidays. It’s like my body is knows what’s coming at the turn of the calendar and it enters into a state of mourning. It’s like this thing, my body starts eating stuff and just thinking about its good a little bit because I really embrace the taste of certain things. You know? It’s like, but my body starts going into this withdrawal, Mt. Carmel Church.
My mind starts dealing with all the negative about what you’re not going to get to eat, and what you’re not going to get to have, and starts bringing me down where I’m starting to get discouraged about prayer and fasting. The reason I’m getting discouraged is because I’m focused on the negative prayer and fasting. It’s supposed to be about the greater, so it’s not about what I’m doing without, it’s about what I’m pursuing that’s greater than what I’m doing without. You see, when we get discouraged, when we get grouchy and complaining about it, because our focus is all on what we can’t have instead of focusing on what God’s going to do in our life.
I just want to encourage you during this prayer and fasting time to find something greater. Don’t focus on, well, what can I quit? What can I give up? Don’t just focus on that. That’s great, but what are you going to start that’s greater? What are you going to pick up that’s greater? What are you going to focus on that’s going to be big in your life so that when I compare it to that piece of cake, it just doesn’t compare because what I’m going after is greater
Yeah, I could eat cake if I wanted to, but it doesn’t compare to what God wants to do in my life. Find something greater for 2020 I believe God wants to do greater in The Roads Church. I believe God was to do greater in your life, so let’s pick out something greater to focus on. I still get negative about what I can eat. It’s easy to get depressed. I don’t want to go into prayer and fasting depressed. That’s going to come enough on its own.
It’s going to come in about day, whatever it’s going to happen, but I’m telling if you focus on something greater than now, your interest, it says, “God, what are you going to do in my life?” I may have a yes. I may have to say no to certain things, but it’s not about that. Your prayer and fasting is not up to be focused on the no’s it’s focused on your yeses. What are your yeses? If you don’t have any yeses, get them. Get a yes to believe in. Get a yes. Here’s what I want you to do before I may mention it again at the end of the service, but before next week is we’re going to start on Wednesday at Mt. Carmel Church. January 1st is usually when it starts. You can do whatever you want. You may, you don’t have to again, and nobody’s telling you what to do. We just make a time of prayer and fasting for 21 days because the Bible says when you fast, when you pray. I’ve had people say, well, I don’t want to have to do it just because you say so. I’m not saying so. I’m giving you an opportunity to because if you won’t do it with a group of people that are doing it together, when will you do it? I’ll tell you when Chad will do it. It’s called never.
If you’re going to take it and wait for me to feel it, “Oh, I feel like it’s never going to happen.” So, I have to discipline myself and I have to say, “I’m going to fast during this time. I’m going to pray during this time. I’m going to set that apart.” So you don’t have to partake of it, but I just make a time where we come together as a body. You say, “You know what? I’m going to go for it this year.” Maybe just start with the day. Maybe you start with a meal. I don’t know whatever it is for you, but I encourage you find something greater. Don’t focus on if I can help people with this, people come to me. They’ll ask me, “Well, what do you think I should fast?” You’re focusing on the negative. I will tell you what, what should you be praying for here at, Mt. Carmel Church?
What breakthrough should you be praying for them. See, we’re not praying and fasting together so that we can survive 21 days without social media. We’re not praying and fasting together so that we can survive 21 days without sugar, without coffee, without soda, or even without food. It doesn’t matter. That’s not what we’re praying and fasting. We’re praying and fasting for breakthrough in our families, in our churches, in our lives, and our kids. That’s what we’ve got. Something greater. We’re focused on and we’re praying for God to move in our midst, to move in our lives, and move in our families. I know I’ve given up food just so I can say I gave up food. Who cares? What am I believing God for? What’s the miracle that you need in your life? What’s the breakthrough you need in your family? That’s what you write down. This is the greater that I’m fasting for.
This was a greater that I’m praying for. You have to have something. You have to have a greater yes than your no. The Bible says this in Matthew chapter 5 blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Now I saw three keys to prayer and fasting in the scriptures. I want you to find them with me in Matthew chapter 6. There are three keys to prayer and fasting and they’re going to correlate one with the other. Prayer and fasting for the best, Mt. Carmel Church. Jesus said the same three things about the two topics. I want you to see the similarities. Look in verse 5 it says, and when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. Now look at verse 16 moreover, when you fast do not be like the hypocrites. Do you see a theme? I see a theme. So here’s three keys and we’ll give you about prayer and fasting.
Jesus gave us Three Keys to Prayer and Fasting
The first one, and they all start with the D. The first one is devotion. It’s about devotion. Prayer and fasting is about devotion. Remember I told you it’s not about deprivation. It’s not about what you can do without. It’s about your devotion. God’s not impressed with my deprivation. He’s impressed with your devotion. Notice what he said. When you pray and when you fast, do not be like the who? How many people have ever heard somebody say, I don’t want to come to church because there’s a bunch of hypocrites? That’s one of the most common things I hear. There are a bunch of hypocrites in there. Well, guess what? You’re right. They’re 100% right! There are hypocrites in the church. There’s hypocrites in the church, hypocrites out the church, hypocrites everywhere. Hypocrites on stages becomes hypocrite. If we’ve learned about the definition, here’s what hypocrites means.
It means one who pretends to be other than who they really are. An actor, a pretender. Have you ever had someone call you a poser? Have you ever felt like you’re just going through the motions in an area of your life? Here’s what God says. Don’t be like the hypocrites. Here’s what it means. We need to live our lives genuine. Here’s what prayer and fasting will do. It’ll bring to the surface who we really are, and sometimes we don’t like it. Prayer and fasting reveals our devotion. What are we devoted to? Are we devoted to ourselves? Are we devoted to God? Here’s what Hebrews 4:13 says and there is no creature hidden from his sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. What areas of our life are we pretending? What areas of our life are we posing?
Here’s what prayer and fasting is and I encourage you in this first D is check your devotion during your times of prayer fasting. Maybe you need to start a devotion. I encourage you, start your day with at least 15 minutes with God. Every day you spend that much time catching up on your feed. 15 minutes. Just get out your Bible. Get a devotion, something that you pray and you read through something. You spend your time, and you say, “God, I give you the first part of my day devoted to you.” I’m devoted to you. I don’t want to be a hypocrite. I don’t want to sit in church and say I’m one way and live another way. When I’m outside of church, hypocrites are pretenders. They know the game. They know what face to put on. They know the words to say. They know the clichés, they know all these things, but we don’t want to be hypocrites.
We want to be genuine. Prayer and fasting is about looking ourselves in the mirror and saying, “Am I who I say I am? Am I really who I say I am? Am I who people think that I am? I say I’m a Christian, I come to church, but who am I devoted to? Am I devoted to myself or am I devoted to God?” Devotions are a really important are prayer and fasting. Let’s look at the second D. The second D is similarities that we find here. The second D is direction. Notice what he says about praying there in the last part of verse 5. They love to pray standing in the synagogues on the corners of streets that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you that they have the reward, but when you pray, what are you supposed to do? Go into your room and when you’ve shut your door, pray where?
Pray to your father, not to men, but to your father. Notice what he says there. Notice when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites with a sad countenance, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have your reward. But you, when you fast, what are you supposed to do? Anoint your head and wash your face so that you do not appear to men to be fasting. Number two is about direction. Who are we doing it to? Who are we doing it for? We’re doing it for God. We’re not doing it for people. It’s about checking how we live our lives. It says in Galatians chapter 1, obviously I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God.
If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant. Are we striving for universal acceptance or universal obedience? Notice what he says. Do not be like these people. Do not pray to men at do not fast to men. Don’t live your Christian life for people. Live it for God. Don’t try and impress people with your Christianity. Impress God with your Christianity. Don’t fast to people. Look what happens if people are fast to other people. They disfigure their faces. People come up to you and say, “Hey, what’s going on?” “I’m thirsty. Hey, you want something? No, I couldn’t. Possibly. I’m fasting. I’d love to, but I can’t.” They just disfigured their faces and got all sad. Notice Jesus said you have your reward. In other words, you have your little pity party. That’s your reward, but he said, when you fast, don’t let anybody know about it.
What’s your face look like? Anoint your head so that everybody who takes a look says it just looks like a normal day for you. Why? Because you’re fasting to God, not for the pleasure of people. Now that you can think I’m real spiritual, you don’t even need to know I’m fasting unless people just push you and prod you. They keep telling you he wants to eat. No, no daycare. No, no. Really? You want somebody? No, no, thank you. I know. No, I can. I’m not bypassing. So sometimes they keep pushing. You’re like, no, I remember that. Well, what’s the matter? Why aren’t you eating? What’s the matter?
I realize there’s sometimes you go home, and you have to tell them. But notice who are we doing it for? We’re doing it for God. So here’s why I’m encouraging you be a God pleaser, not a people pleaser. Live your life for Jesus, not for people. Vertical acceptance, not horizontal acceptance. When we live for horizontal acceptance, it’s very frustrating. One day they loved you, the next day they don’t. One day that parent’s happy with you the next day they are not.
That’s real. If you don’t believe me, coach something. Lead something. Be an employer in the public. Go pastor a church. Do something long enough and you’re going to deal with people that love you. And then it’s just going to happen. All of a sudden they won’t. So this is why everything’s to God. It’s direction. All right, let’s do the third one. It’s about discretion. Notice what he says about prayer. When you pray, go into your room and shut your door and pray to your father who’s in the what kind of place? Let’s try it again. Pray to your father who’s in what kind of place? The secret place. Your father who sees in secret will reward you! Now let’s go down to fasting. Is it any different?
Now, when you fast, anoint your heard, wash your face so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your father who’s in the secret place and your father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Here’s the third D. It’s discretion. Praying and fasting in secret. It’s about doing it when no one is watching. Here’s the thing that we need to know about God and it’s either good or bad. Your father sees in secret, Mt. Carmel Church.
It’s what the Bible says your father sees in secret said, when you pray, when you fast, when you pray, do this. Go into your room. Shut your door. Don’t stand up in front everybody. Hey, I just want to pray. I’m not talking about you. Pray for your food or something like that. You may have to do in public, but I’m talking about your normal everyday prayer. Your conversation with God should be the, you should have a secret place that’s just you and Jesus. Find it. Praying in front of a bunch of the people praying while you’re driving down the road. All that still fine. You can do that. But I encourage you, find a secret place that just you and God go good.
Have a place for only you and him that you spend time with him. You’ve got things on your wall, a good movie and watches that movie war room. You could watch that. That movie can encourage you in a prayer life. And, and I’ve got a place where I’ve got papers taped all over my wall and height is where I kneel down and I see it and I can speak. They’ve got maps over here. I’ve got all these things on my wall. That’s my secret place. So I go just me and God, he said, so that’s something you do in secret. God sees in secret. Now, if I tell you God, sees in secret, depending on what we’re doing, that’s either a good thing or a bad thing.
Private Discipline Produces Public Rewards
That’s good, Mt. Carmel Church. Your father sees in secret is either good news or oh my gosh, right? Depending on what we’re doing, if you’re praying and doing things privately, if you’re praying and fasting in secret, the Bible says he will reward you openly. In other words, here’s I wrote this down. I thought this was good. Private discipline produces public rewards. You can apply that to anything. You can apply that to sports. You can apply that to business. You can apply that to anything. What you do privately will produce public rewards. Private discipline produces private discipline and how you handle yourself. What do you do when no one’s watching? That’s going to make the difference.
What an athlete does privately determines what they do publicly. They had the final four of the college football, uh, yesterday, putting on some of our nation’s top football teams on TV. So, but what those athletes do privately helps them do what they did on TV last night. It’s not just that moment. What do we do privately in our walk with Jesus is going to determine how we are going to perform publicly. C.S. Lewis said this, “Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching.” Yes, discretion, the third D. What’s happening in your life when no one’s watching? What’s going on in your life and no one’s watching? The good and the bad about the father seeing in secret is that he knows everything that you and I are doing and thinking. Is that good?
What we do in Private is going to come out eventually
It could be really good or it could be very challenging because we know our hearts, we know what’s going on, but I want you to know this. The reason God sees in secret is not to make you feel bad about doing bad. He sees in secret because he wants to pull you out of that. God never sees in secret so he can hold it over your head and bash you over the head and say, “What are you doing?” But we need to know what are we doing in private is going to come out eventually, Mt. Carmel Church. I’ll try to tell people and my kids, that what you do in secret eventually will be known. We’ll find out one or two things. The Holy Spirit’s going to tell me, because we talk. I am not scared to tell him. He talks to me. I say, “Lord, what are my kids doing right now? Just tell me.” You’re like, “He tells you that stuff?” He’ll tell you things. The Bible says that he tells you things to come. So he’ll tell us, but he also knows what I’m doing. I’m accountable to the father just like my kids are. So you’ve got to know. What do we do in private? What do you look at on your phone when nobody’s looking?
How do you talk when nobody’s looking? How do you talk when you’re not around your parents, and you’re not around church people? One of the challenges about understanding that God sees in secret is we’re like, “Ok, so he knows everything about my life anyway.” So it puts us in a position we need to just be open and honest about it, Mt. Carmel Church. Don’t try and hide anything before God. He already knows. Don’t put on airs and act like a church kid in church and be somebody different total outside of church. God already knows who you are. He already knows, so don’t try and fool him. Don’t try and bamboozle him. Don’t try and pull the wool over his eyes. You can fool people, but you can’t fool God. So just be honest. Hey, I’m not living for Jesus right now. I’m not.
It always hurts my heart a little bit when I find out about people or kids. People come to me. I don’t know why people come to me and tell me stuff. It’s like I’m the principal of the church. Like you know, so-and-so goes to your church. Do you know what they’re doing? Thank you for telling me that. That really makes me feel better. You’re like, you know what that kid’s doing? You know what that person says? You know what they say when they’re not in church? You know what that kid’s doing, Mt. Carmel Church? What’s happening in their life? I don’t know, but I just know this, the father sees in secret. So I want to live a life where I, whatever I’m doing, I’m committed to him and open as well as in private. So what I wants to focus on is professing three D’s. Number one, what is your devotion? Who are you devoted to?
Will you ramp up your devotion to God during prayer and fasting time? What will you do to increase your devotion to God? You have to make something intentional. I’m going to pray more often. I’m going to start praying every morning. I haven’t been doing that. I kind of got away from that. I’m going to start spending the first 15 minutes, 30 minutes, whenever it is, and again, work into it. There is a time that there’s no way I could spend an hour with God. I just didn’t grasp how to do it. There’s times now that I’m like, is time up already. And I’m not saying that to try and sound super spiritual. I’m just saying God bring you into a place where you just pray for things and talk to him about things and, and time goes by and so it’s just fellowship with him, and relationship with him, Mt. Carmel Church.
That’s what he wants. Give him the first part of your day. Devotion number two, make sure the second day that’s your direction. You’re living for him and not for people. So make it this prayer and fasting time. I’m going to stop caring about what other people think and I’m just going to care about what God says. I’m going to stop caring about what all my friends think, or what are my coworker’s thinking, or what all their parents think. I’m just going to focus on what God wants for my life. My direction is to him, not to people. You’re not trying to impress other people. You’re not trying to have a competition of who’s going to have the more stringent fast. We’re not competing about fasting. What are you fasting? Well, Mt. Carmel Church, I’m, I’m fasting, uh, social media. That’s nothing. I’m fasting food.
It’s not a competition. It’s not how many days it’s on. It’s not about who can be more spiritual. It’s just saying your relationship with God. You’re saying right now, God, I’m going to do this prayer and fasting to you and I’m going to come to you. I’m going to move to closer to you this time. During this 21 days, Mt. Carmel Church, we’re giving the first 21 days of 2020. I’m excited about what’s going to happen in 2020. I’m excited about the messages that I’ve got prepared. I’m ready for 2020 and for this part of this series about praying bold prayers. I want us to pray bold prayers for 2020. I was praying for miraculous things and God just showed me some areas. I don’t have time to go into it. Nevermind. I’ll start next week. Come back next week.
What Does the Secret Part of your Life Look Like?
There’s going to be a little bit of conviction on this and I’m okay with that because it hits me too. What’s the secret part of your life look like? What’s your thought life like? What’s going on in here that nobody knows about? Sometimes it’s not just what I’m just sitting or whatever. Sometimes it’s thoughts like I’m thinking that maybe if I wasn’t in this world, it would be a better place. Some people are dealing with thoughts like that, and I’m telling you, that’s a lie from the devil. The secret pains that people are going through because of devastation, or because of tragedies, or because the issue that nobody knows what’s going on, Mt. Carmel Church. I’m telling you, the father sees in secret. It’s not just bad. He sees your pain. He sees what you’re going through. He sees your abandoned feelings. He sees your confusion. He sees you. He wants to help you. You’re not alone. He sees in your secrets. So what’s your secret? Can we just pray?
And in this moment I just want to ask the Holy Spirit to come and speak to every heart here. If you’re watching online and you’re like, I’ve never done anything like this, I encourage you starting January 1st to make a decision. And once you truly think about this right now, Holy Spirit, come minister to every heart. I pray, God, we will pray bold prayers. I pray that you will take us to something greater. Come on, think about it right now. I mentioned it earlier. I want you to think about it right now and I want you to think about over the next few days, what is the greater thing you want to happen in your life? I want to become closer to God over this 21 days. It’s something greater that I’m focusing on, so I will sacrifice something lesser for something greater here at, Mt. Carmel Church. Well, he’s telling you what to do with your fast. I’m just giving you tools, and giving you opportunity. I’m giving you things you can do. You can do as much as you want or as little as you want. It’s totally between you and Jesus.
You’re not fasting to men. You’re fasting to God. You’re not praying to men. You’re praying to God, but I’m saying to you, what is your greater? What are you believing for your family? What are you believing for your job, for your workplace, for your relationships? I don’t know. I don’t know what it is, but have something greater that is on your list that I’m going to spend this 21 days of prayer and fasting, believing for something bigger than what I’m sacrificing. It’s something bigger and more important, more valuable than just doing without. It’s not about deprivation. It’s not about just sacrificing. It’s not just that it’s saying yes to something. It’s moving towards something bigger and greater and moving away from something lesser. What is it for you that you’re believing God for?
What is it that you’re saying to God, I need a breakthrough in my life. I need something to change. You see in secret God and you know what’s going on in my heart. You know what’s going on in my life. You know what’s going on in my situation that nobody else knows. You see me? You see where I’ve been a pretender with us here at, Mt. Carmel Church. You see where I’ve been opposed sir. I’ve been coming to church. I’ve been playing the game, but I live just like any other teenager outside the walls. I’m doing this, I’m doing that. I’m walking away. I don’t know what it is, but God’s speaking to you not to condemn you, but to draw you into his goodness and say, come on, come closer to me. I want to show you what true love is about.
Thanks so much for watching with us. We love our online Mt. Carmel Illinois Church and Norris City Illinois Church family and we invite you to connect with us. We have a few different ways you can do that. Our website is theroads.church. We are on social media as well.
We’d love to pray for any needs you might have. So send us a message and let us know how we can partner with you in bringing the light and love of Jesus to your world.
Sermon Notes: https://theroads.church/sermon-notes