Culture

Is This What You Call Fasting?

“Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord? ‘No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help.’” Isaiah 58:5-12

 

It’s the beginning of a brand new year and your pastor has called the annual corporate, church fast, which is now to be expected, a thing of tradition. As you get ready to fast both mentally, physically, and spiritually, it’s important to make sure that you’re not wasting your time. Whether your spiritual goal for fasting is to grow in God or to have God intervene in an area that represents a stronghold in your life, God calls His people to participate in a true fast. A true fast is one that is not concerned in the least with natural benefits like losing weight, detoxing, or otherwise purifying or cleansing the body, but it’s concerned with the spiritual benefits of the purification and cleansing of the heart. In the book of Isaiah, chapter 58, Prophet Isaiah asks the self-righteous people of the day a loaded question as they went about their fasting ritual, he asks, “Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the Lord?” You see these pious people were going through the motions of fasting, but they were not pleasing God nor getting ahead spiritually. Isaiah goes on to share what would actually please God and I suggest that you read the entire chapter in its context, and you will discover that God is not looking for a fast in which we simply forego our meals, but he’s looking for one in which there is changed behavior through a purified heart. Take for instance King David, a man regarded as being after God’s own heartand described as such with good reason. After David committed adultery by sleeping with Bathsheba, a married woman, he asked God in Psalm 51 to create in him a “clean heart” and to “renew a right spirit” within him. God honored the brokenness of David’s heart and like David, God desires for us to get to the place where we want to be made clean of our ways that don’t please Him and to be so broken by our shortcomings that we desire to be renewed spiritually so that we can be used for His service. Essentially, God wants us to fast or turn from our evil ways and start doing right and doing good work for Him.

So, don’t view your personal or corporate fasting as a religious formality, but rather as a purposed act of pure worship that shows God that your temporary abstaining from food and or from other things that distract you or bring you pleasure (i.e. sex, social media, online shopping, or Netflix), is just the beginning of your future practice of abstaining, for good, from the type of living that does not please Him. Again, this results in us becoming more useful to God for service. Through a true fast, you will experience God’s blessings and He will, among other blessings, restore areas in your life that need restoration and He will hear you and answer you when you pray (Isaiah 58:6-12).

Make 2019 the year that you embark on a true fast, fasting that not only benefits us, but humanity. Fasting that goes beyond our own personal growth and becomes concerned with how we can be of service to God’s people through acts of kindness, charity, justice, and generosity for this is what truly pleases God.

 

*Some excerpts taken from The Christian Girls Manifesto: A Declaration of Faith‘s chapter, “True Fasting.”

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A Prayer for Election 2016

pexels-photo-129112Be encouraged this election season and do not worry about tomorrow because God will take care of everything. Be an informed voter and urge your circle to do the same. Vote your choice and leave the rest up to God. Instead of worrying about who will take office, focus on what God considers important like loving Him, loving His people, doing His will for your life, and not giving all your attention to this life, but being concerned primarily with being ready for your eternal home not this temporary world that we are just passing through. When it is all said and done, it will not matter who rules the world, but who ruled your heart.

Here is a sincere prayer that I wrote during quiet time back in July 2016, and it is still relevant today. Recite it when you need a reminder of God’s sovereignty in all things.

Dear Heavenly Father,

In your Word, You said that “when the [uncompromisingly] righteous, are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh (Proverbs 29:2).” Lord, at a time when there is so much peril in the world, we desire a season of rejoicing. Grace us with rejoicing Lord, favor us with the most suitable and capable candidate as the next President of the United States of America for such a time as this. A President whose moral compass “bends toward justice” and whose character while not perfect, is still praiseworthy. Lord, we know that, the only perfect Man that ever walked this earth is Jesus, and He’s not on the ballot, but you remain on the throne. We trust you because you are faithful. We trust you because you are good. We trust you because you do all things well. We trust you because of your unfailing love. We trust you because you established the order and authority that is public office, but even still no one trumps your authority. We trust you because no matter who is in office at the local, state, or national level, you are still ultimately in control. You can turn the very heart of any man for our good (Proverbs 21:1). Thank you Lord for hearing our prayer and for answering us. In Jesus name, Amen.

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