In Isaiah we find some great scripture on fasting. Fasting is more than just depriving yourself of food for a day, curtailing indulgences for a day, or just keeping the sabbath. Fasting is about aligning ourselves in God’s values. It is about fully surrendering to the Will of God. It is about fully surrendering to His ways.
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“Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” – Isaiah 58:4-6
True fasting is more than a day of restricting our food intake. It is about walking the walk, and honoring God with our actions, with how we treat others. Are we truly honoring our neighbors as ourselves? We are not honoring God when our “fasting ends in quarreling and strife.” – (Isaiah 58:4).
True fasting is fasting from our ways and walking in God’s ways. To understand God’s ways, we need look no further than Jesus who is The Way. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – (John 14:6).
If we want God to answer our prayers, we need to walk in His ways. Isaiah 58:4 says, “You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.” We also find this teaching in 1 Pet.3:12 that says, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Isaiah continues to share true fasting is more than keeping the Sabbath by dieting, and bowing down in reverence. It is about our hearts, and our actions. Our hearts are not in the right place if on the Sabbath or during our fasting we have not done away with “finger pointing and malicious talk”, and if we do nothing to help break the “yoke of oppression”.
Finally, true fasting comes from a deep desire in seeking our Lord. And this is done because we want to, not because we have to. And while we can be obedient to God even when we don’t want to, when it is not convenient, or when it not align with what we want in the flesh.
True fasting is about us wanting to honor God. When we see those who are less fortunate than us, that our hearts pour out to them and we do not “turn away from your own flesh and blood.” – (Isaiah 58:7). When we truly walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, we do so with our feet and with our hearts.
- “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here I am.” – Isaiah 58:9
Let us give thanks, and truly love our neighbors as ourselves through proper fasting.
I call you blessed.
Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your Word today. Help us to honor you with our hearts, with our words, and with our actions. Help us to take a step of faith in honoring you by giving us a clear opportunity to serve others that we cannot ignore. In our actions, help us to lead others to You. Let our light shine in the darkness, and give us strength and power, wisdom and understanding, comfort and joy, and rest and peace, in Jesus mighty name. Amen.
Today’s full reading: Isaiah 57-59; 2 Peter 3
Scripture References From Today’s Reflection:
“Jesus answered, ‘It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”‘” – Matthew 4:4
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6
“For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” – 1 Peter 3:12
“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.” – Deuteronomy 4:29
“Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 22:36-40
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