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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

The Blessedness of Godly Mourning

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Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted”—Matthew 5:4


The word ‘mourn’ as used by our Lord, Jesus Christ in the above scripture, was translated from the Greek word “pentheo” meaning: ‘to grieve’. That is, to sorrow. So the Lord tells us that there is blessing in mourning…


As a matter of fact, the Lord tells us that one of his major commissions is to comfort all that mourn in Zion (see Isaiah 61:2-3).


But however, when the Lord talks about mourning here, he is talking about godly mourning or sorrow. Because from scriptures, we understand that there is a difference between godly mourning or sorrow and worldly sorrow (see 2 Corinthians7:10).


The word of God says godly sorrow works repentance unto salvation; while worldly sorrow works death. So when the Lord talks about mourning in the above opening text, he is not referring to mourning in the general sense, but rather, he was referring to godly mourning.


Christians are not to be mourning like the unbelieving and hopeless world… Wearing pathetic and sullen countenance in the face of afflictions or tribulations. But however, they can indulge themselves in godly mourning or sorrow.


How to Engage in Godly Mourning


In the opening text (Matthew 5:4) the Lord says there is blessing in godly mourning. And that blessing, being comfort. Now when he says comfort here, he doesn’t say they that mourn shall only be comforted in heaven or paradise as many would want to believe.


Rather, he says they shall be comforted. So there are certainly immediate and present comforts for everyone and anyone that engages in godly mourning. That established, we want to see how we can engage in godly mourning.


Scripturally, there are three basic ways to engage in godly mourning or sorrow. And these three ways are as listed below:


1)    Fasting: “And Jesus said unto them, can the children of the bridechamber MOURN, as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they FAST”—Matthew 9:15

We see that in the above scripture, the Lord equates mourning with fasting. So scripturally, the major way to engage ourselves in godly or spiritual mourning before God, in order to obtain comfort from any of our discomfort or affliction is fasting.
As we mourn before the Lord in fasting, he sends us comfort or consolation in diverse ways. It may be in the form of direct answers to prayers, vision or any other form of divine revelation.

Daniel did engage in this type of mourning for three weeks. And after the three weeks of mourning before the Lord, he received remarkable visions from the Lord (see Daniel 10).

Then again while the Apostles fasted and ministered to the Lord in the book of act, they also received a directional revelation (see Acts 13:2-3). So to engage yourself in godly mourning, engage yourself often in fasting before the Lord.

2)    Prayers: Another way to engage in godly mourning is to engage in deep, hearted-felt prayers concerning the burdens in our hearts. This kind of prayers is what James calls “effectual fervent prayer”. It is a passionate prayer birthed in a burdened heart.

Sometimes this kind of prayers is accompanied with deep groaning in the spirit. And some other times, it is watered with tears. That is, a time of weeping before the Lord in child-like intercession and supplication.

So another way of engaging in godly or spiritual mourning is to weep before the Lord in heartfelt or passionate intercession or supplication. Daniel took this kind of mourning for Israel (see Daniel 9:3).

3)    Penitence: Penitence here refers to remorsefulness. In the first epistle of the Apostle Paul to the believers at Corinth, he rebuked them of their sinful acts. When he learnt that the people involved in such acts were not remorseful, but rather puffed up.

In his second epistle, he revealed his Joy as a result of the effect of his rebuke in his first epistle. Here is exactly what he says; “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing”—2 Corinthians 7:9

 The Apostle Paul was glad at their penitence or remorse. As Christians, we are to mourn over sin. That is, when we know we’ve missed it in our walk with God, we are to humble ourselves before God in compunction as we go to him for forgiveness. We are not to just excuse ourselves in boldface; or try to explain away our errors in the name of grace

This type of godly mourning or sorrow is lacking a great deal in Christendom today, as a result of some extreme teachings. As a matter of fact, the situation has degenerated in the church presently. So much that penitence for sin is now perceived as irrelevant by many.

And the result of this is a breed of Christians who approach the throne of God’s grace with boldface, and hearts caked unrepented sins. Instead of the true spiritual boldness that proceeds from a pure, broken and contrite heart; saturated by God’s forgiving love.

The bible tells us that sorrow for sin or penitence or compunction for sin leads to repentance unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:10). So if there is an area of your Christian walk where you are missing it or where you eventually miss it, be remorseful for it, and repent quickly.


 What Are We to Mourn For?


Having scripturally understood what godly mourning is all about and how to engage in it…


 The very next issue we want to consider are the things we are to mourn for.


We are to mourn for everything that burdens us or anyone around us. We are to mourn for all men; especially for their salvation. We are to mourn for our government and people in one position of authority or the other. We are to mourn for ministers of God that we believe are missing it; instead of tearing them down with our mouths.


  We are to mourn for nations that we perceive are going through any form of affliction. As children of God, people’s plight should become our burden.


And of course, the burdens we feel shouldn’t just end in our hearts and talks. Any burden we bear; either ours or for others should end at God’s table through mourning in order for us to receive comfort.


When a Christian gets afflicted, the best approach to the affliction is not to try to endure the burden alone and assume or accept it to be the will of God. And even begin to wear pathetic and sullen countenance. But rather, the issue should be taken to God in mourning with faith and expectation of comfort. For he says we should cast all our cares on him for he cares for us.


And like I wrote earlier, the mourning can take the form of fasting or passionate prayers. And as you mourn before the Lord, you are sure to get comforted by his Holy Spirit in you in the Mighty name of Jesus Christ!


Remain Blessed!


Emeke Odili

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