Wednesday, January 20, 2016
Not all fasts are pleasing to God and equally true, not all of them are beneficial to it’s participants. If you read the 58th Chapter of Isaiah, you will get a clearer picture of the types of fasts which please God as well as those which don’t. In it, the Lord reprimanded those who did it only to impress Him while they did as they pleased on the day of their fast, exploiting their workers, and fighting and quarreling amongst themselves. This is basically someone doing something good but doing it in the wrong way. Many years ago, I had an old postal service friend who always managed to get on our boss’ wrong side. One day he told me with a very surprised look on his face: “Hey Joe, guess what? The boss greeted me this morning with very kind and sweet tone in his voice.” I said “Wow! What did he say exactly?” Trying to mimic someone asking a sweetly sincere question, he replied, “He said, ‘Good morning dummy’.”
Fasts are like diet programs, the most effectual ones are those where the participants want to better themselves and develop a closer relationship to God for their lifetime, not only for the duration of their appointed fast. And while fasts are geared primarily for our spiritual growth, it is also a time when we can really get down to business about something very near and dear to us, especially when it involves our loved ones. That is what the Lord wanted to impress His people with in the 58th Chapter of Isaiah, the idea that there were people all around them that needed their help.
So other than yourself, are there some folks in your life which are struggling with issues such as their, health, finances, family and marriage, etc.? Well, during your fast, when you get closer to God than ever, you will see them as the Lord sees them and feel about them the way He does. Then your prayer will be more sincere and urgent, and because of it, be more effective. It is no coincidence that the Bible says “the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous person is powerful.” (James 5:16) In the end, your fast will not only please the Lord, it may even wind up being more helpful and beneficial to a dear person in your life than to you. Then, you will be eagerly looking forward to your next time of prayer and fasting.
Memory verse for the week: (Joel 2:12 KJV) “Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.”