Day 14 of 21 • This day’s reading

Isaiah 58:1-12
Matthew 6:33

Day 14: The Spiritual Fast According to the Prophet Isaiah

Isaiah 58 speaks of the Israelites’ lack of breakthrough from their fast. They upheld the criteria of fasting, yet their actions were incoherent to their heart. While Isaiah addressed issues during the Old Testament times, his prophecy still applies to our modern-day context. The personal act of fasting needs to be dissociated from self-interest. A godly fast is a holistic alignment of ourselves to God’s Word and ways.

For the Israelites, fasting became about securing their own lives despite others’ suffering. They practiced religious rituals but were abusing each other, oppressing the poor, and ignoring the needy. The abstinence of food triggers the internal instinct of selfishness to survive, but fasting fueled by selfish ambitions won’t produce God products.

Our society has other challenges, such as digital distractions and materialistic living. While there’s no condemnation for those who’ve fasted things like social media or Netflix, the Biblical teaching is the sacrifice of physical necessities. Fasting implies the crying out to God with your entirety. It’s the uniting of mind, body, and spirit, which means that the actions of our flesh need to align to God’s heart.

God is looking for your relationship with Him to be built upon integrity. While fasting works on the inner self, God still calls us to love and serve others. When we’re tired and hungry, it can be tempting for us to shut ourselves off from the world and withdraw with God. This is an important aspect of fasting, but Isaiah challenges us to set our minds on the Kingdom of God; let the things that break God’s heart also break yours. Let your worship include a care for others. This can also be part of your fasting experience.

Practically, ask God to let you see the burdens that people carry, and then ask for opportunities to alleviate them. Perhaps your budget for meals can be allocated to the needy and your time into serving others. Even if they’re little gestures, make it purposeful.

When our actions communicate the love of Christ, we can never out-give God. As you seek to align your outward actions to God’s heart, He’ll restore the ruins in your life, the things that have decayed and are ready to collapse. He’ll honor your efforts in seeking His Kingdom and enrich your life with all things good.

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