3 Days of Prayer and Fasting (2019/07)

Luke 14:25-35 (ESV)
25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
34 “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? 35 It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Day 1: Loving God
There are three hypothetical statements in this passage that teach us about Christian disciple. (1) Those who love their family or themselves more than they love God (cf. Gen. 29:30-33; Rom. 9:13; Matt. 10:37), (2) those who do not bear their own cross to go after Jesus, and (3) those who do not renounce all that they have “cannot be [Jesus’s] disciple.” Loving anything more than we love Jesus, does not merely make us bad disciples, it makes us non-disciples. This does not mean that Christians never have lapses of faithfulness and sin, but it does mean that the Christian’s fundamental allegiance has shifted to Christ the King. Is there any way in which other things and people in your life occupy a higher rank in your life’s purposes and priorities than God? What are some things in your life that you have resisted submitting to the Lordship of Christ?
  • Take account of, and confess, the possessions and relationships that have taken God’s place of “first love” in your life.
  • Reflect on how God has first loved you, so that you might love Him more (1 John 4:19). Pray that you might love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
  • Ask for faith to persevere so that you do not merely “come to” Jesus, but also continue to “[go] after” Jesus.
  • Ask God to reveal to you one or two specific ways that you can “seek his kingdom” with your money and store up treasures in heaven.

Day 2: Loving One Another
Following Christ is such a consequential undertaking that it requires a careful accounting of the cost beforehand. It’s foolish to begin to follow Christ, only then to abandon the pursuit later in life. All true disciples of Christ persevere to the end (cf. 1 Pet. 1:5; Matt. 24:13). But in order to persevere to the end, we need each other, the family of God. Hebrews 3:12-14 says, “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” How can we exhort one another so that none of us is hardened by the deceitfulness of sin? Do you labor in prayer for your brothers and sisters in our local church family?
  • Pray that our church members would keep God as the first love of their lives.
  • Pray specifically for hindrances in the lives of brothers and sisters that God has revealed to you. Pray that God would wean them off of those things, so that they might go after Christ unhindered.

Day 3: Loving Our Neighbors
A Christian must maintain His saltiness, because “salt is good,” but it is useless when it loses its saltiness. Salt has many beneficial functions. It’s a preservative in food. It halts decay. It’s also purifying. It can be used to disinfect wounds. It can be used for flavoring. It draws out and enhances the subtle flavors of foods and ensures that they are not bland. But these are not the primary functions of salt in view in the Gospel of Luke. The primary function in view is spelled out in verse 35, “It is of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile.” What’s in view here is the salt’s function as fertilizer. A little bit of salt can activate nutrients in the soil for the plants but control the growth of weeds. It can also be used to enrich manure and make it more effective as a fertilizer.
Salt is described as “good” in verse 34. The primary way in which Luke uses the word “good” throughout his Gospel to speak of “good trees” on “good soils” that bear “good fruit” (Luke 3:9; 6:43; 8:15). It’s a metaphor for the Christian life. A true, salty Christian fertilizes the soil of people’s hearts that so that they respond to the seed of the gospel and produce good trees that bear good fruit. A true disciple is a good tree that sits on good soil and produces good fruit. Is your saltiness evident in your effect on those around you? Do you speak the good news of Jesus and do the good works of Jesus?
  • Pray for the salvation of specific unbelieving family members, friends, and neighbors.
  • Pray for opportunities to love and serve your neighbors this week.
  • Pray that our church would be bold and winsome witnesses for Jesus Christ.

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