"Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.' Jesus answered, 'It is written: "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."'"

Matthew 4:1-4

Lord Jesus warns us from making a show of our religious life. Incidentally, He reveals a very great secret. Sincerity is an all-important factor in not only spiritual life, but in the daily life of every human being. Insincerity is falsehood, to be shunned with greater vigilance than that with which one would discard a poisonous “fruit.” The poison in the tempting form of a fruit is ruinous to the physical body; insincerity in the holy garb of a righteous life is ruinous to the very soul of man. An act of charity done publicly for the acclamation of society might earn a good reward here, in name and fame, in social status and material comforts. But it has very little spiritual value. For, God the Indweller looks to the innermost motives. He knows that the motive is not to earn His Grace or to do His Will, but to acquire the goods of this world. And, this is the very antithesis of the life divine.

He who would lead the divine life, therefore, would do charity, not because it would earn him name and fame, but because charity is the reflection of the God-in-man. None of His Supreme Blessings—the sun, the rain, the wind and the life-sustaining earth—beats its drums and proclaims, “It is I who maintain your life and enable you to live and function here.” God, hidden in all these great channels of His Grace and instruments of His Will, showers His Blessings on us. The seeker who seeks to do His Will, will likewise consider himself an instrument of His Will and a channel of His Grace and that, therefore, it is natural for him to be charitable and loving. Charity and universal love become part of his very nature, and not something extraordinary to be bragged about.

God, the Indweller, is well pleased with such a seeker and rewards him “openly”. The seeker becomes a saint, a man-of-God, radiating divinity. People are charmed in his very presence and adore and worship him.

Similarly in the case of prayer and fasting. These are natural to a real seeker. Prayer is his spiritual food; and fasting is a natural corollary to it. He denies material food to his mind and senses so that he can, through prayer, feed them with spiritual manna. And this is the process of divinising oneself thoroughly. It is done, not to win the favour of any human being, but in order that one’s own inner personality may be divinised. What, then, is the meaning of making a show of prayer and fasting?

Life and Teachings of Lord Jesus

Prayers have wings when they are of the heart. Words have wings when they are spontaneous, when they come from your natural being.


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