Divided! The word divided conjures up images of dissension. Disunity. Even hostility. None of which attract me. But Jesus’ words sometimes caused division among His listeners (John 7). After His invitation to the “thirsty” to “come to Him and drink,” Jesus makes this startling promise: “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:37, 38). He was referring to the Holy Spirit whom believers would later receive. In response, some called Jesus a Prophet; others said He was the Christ; a few in the crowd had shouted out that He was demon-possessed .
The people were divided because of Jesus (John 7:43). This verse is my watchword today as I ponder the One we call the “Prince of Peace. Jesus’ words confront His listeners with Truth. And truth, by its very definition, can cause division. Truth brings to each of us a defining moment when we have to decide. Do we take Jesus at His Word, even if it costs us something? Friends, comfort, social standing, reputation? I have friends in far away places like India and Africa. When they listen to the words of Jesus, it could even cost them their life.
Faith mysteriously grows as we spend time listening to the words of Jesus (Romans 10:17). But in our fast-paced, busy, noisy, addicted world, we’re sometimes too numb to hear. I’ve learned over the years that fasting helps me to disengage from the distractions. Somehow, when I fast, I become more sensitive to Jesus’ Word and His Spirit.
Tomorrow, as we continue our 21-Day Experiment, I plan to spent part of my day in fasting and prayer. The spiritual discipline of fasting can be a powerful time to draw near to Jesus. I’ve learned that fasting also sharpens my “inner hearing.” I need God’s wisdom and power as I intercede for our nation and Tuesday’s important election.
Maybe you’d like to join me in this time of seeking God. You may choose to fast from some meals, as I plan to do. Or what about a fast from worry, or angry words, or fear? I hope you’ll post a comment and let us know how God is speaking to you as you continue to listen to Him.