14th August, 2019




James 4:9-10 (KJV)

[9] Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. [10] Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.


If one reads verse 9 of our theme Scripture alone, he/she may wonder whether the instruction given is consistent with New Testament revelation. As a typical Jew, Apostle James wrote this letter to Jewish Christians (James 1:1), possibly, with a Jewish culture in mind, and might not have considered that this letter would one day be included in the canon of Scriptures for both Jew and Gentile Christians.

Glory be to God, the verse 10 clearly indicates, that, Apostle James was referring to fasting. He said, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:10, KJV). In the Old Testament, the practice of fasting was an outward demonstration of humility in the sight of men; everyone could see that one was fasting under the Old covenant, because, their fasting was characterized by mourning, weeping, lying in sackcloth and ashes.

A typical example is: “And in every province, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, there was great mourning among the Jews, and fasting, and weeping, and wailing; and many lay in sackcloth and ashes” (Esther 3:4, KJV).

Clearly, this was the picture Apostle James had in mind when he asked us to be afflicted, mourn and weep; and that we should let our laughter be turned to mourning, and our joy to heaviness. Indeed, this shows that fasting is not a pleasant experience; it goes with some form of pain that is not pleasurable. But whereas fasting in the Old Testament era was done in the sight of men, those of us in the New Testament era are instructed to humble ourselves IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD. Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7); God sees differrently.

As a Christian, people may not see that you’re fasting, because your affliction, mourning, and weeping are not outward, but in the soul; and so long as God sees what man does not see, that’s it! You’ll have your reward from God; He will lift you up!

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