Lent has begun and people all around the world are looking for ways to please GOD by fasting and going to Church. Even an irregular Church goer wants to be pious during the lent season. While we do all this, lets look at the kind of fast the LORD wants us to keep. It was fascinating for me to find out the answer in Isaiah 58.
‘We have fasted before you!’ they say.
‘Why aren’t you impressed?
We have been very hard on ourselves,
and you don’t even notice it!
“I will tell you why!” I respond.
“It’s because you are fasting to please yourselves.
Even while you fast,
you keep oppressing your workers.
What good is fasting
when you keep on fighting and quarreling?
This kind of fasting
will never get you anywhere with me. IS:58:3,4
So what is the kind of fasting that GOD wants us to keep. What kind of fasting could impress our GOD? Lets dive deeper into chapter 58. Starting from verse 6 GOD unveils His heart towards fasting. I have made it easier for us to meditate by turning it into pointers.
- Free those who are wrongly imprisoned V6
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
19 and that the time of the Lord’s favour has come.”Lk:4:18-19 & Isaiah 61:1-2
JESUS came to earth to set us free from our oppression. When we as Children of GOD are set free by the blood of JESUS we can begin praying for others who are still bound to sin and are oppressed by their evil way. So many of our family members, friends, collegues and neighbhors are enslaved to sin. Lets take time to pray for them to find freedom during this lent.Lets also pray for their Salvation.
8But you are to be a king who speaks up on behalf
of the disenfranchised
and pleads for the legal rights of the defenseless
and those who are dying.
9 Be a righteous king, judging on behalf of the poor
and interceding for those most in need. Prov:31:8,9 (TPT)
I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ Mathew:25:36
a) Lighten the burden of those who work for you
Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master—in heaven. Col:4:1
If you are a person in authority and have people working under you be considerate and treat them fairly.
b) Let the oppressed go free and remove the chains that bind people
“Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
“Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?” James 2:15-16
Deliberatly do good to others especially to those in need.Not just materialistic but kindness and encouragment will do wonders as well.
Make a list of names you know who havn’t met JESUS personally yet and start praying for them this season.
c)Remove the heavy yoke of oppression V9
“Give justice to the poor and the orphan;
uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute.Ps:82:3
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Mt:11:29,30
2)Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumours
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph:4:29
One of the other things we can do starting this lent season is to start watching the words that come out of our mouth. Let’s watch out if they bring grace to the hearers. Is there truth in our words? Any gossiping? Slandering? Judging others? Bad words?
Whoever slanders his neighbour secretly I will destroy. Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart I will not endure. Ps:101:5
3) Feed the hungry and help those in trouble
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”James 1:27
One of the best ways to please GOD is to help the poor, needy and helpless. When you care for orphans and widows, you truly have a big part of GOD’s heart within you.
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. James:4:11
4) Keep the Sabbath day holy, don’t pursue your own interests on that day
a) Enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day
b) Honour the Sabbath in everything you do on that day
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Exo:20:8
Sabath means “Rest”. GOD created Sabath as a day to rest and to worship HIM. We have other days to do our own work and go about our business, but 1 day set aside for GOD – to rest, meditate and worship HIM always will replenish us.
For the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath!”Mt:12:8
Sometimes we only hold on to rest and leave GOD out. So lets make it our priority that we rest in GOD and not away from HIM.
5) Don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.
And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak.Mt:12:36
Lets fast from gossip, lying and using bad words and all our pleasures.
But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. Mt:5:22
Blessings that GOD has promised would follow are:
- Your salvation will come like the dawn and your wounds will quickly heal.
- Your godliness will lead you forward and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.
- When you call, the Lord will answer. ‘Yes, I am here,’ he will quickly reply.
- Your light will shine out from the darkness and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
- The Lord will guide you continually giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.
- You will be like a well-watered garden like an ever-flowing spring.
- Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities.
- You will be known as a rebuilder of wall and a restorer of homes.
- The Lord will be your delight.
- LORD will give you great honour and satisfy you with the inheritance HE promised to our ancestor Jacob.
Lets take time to mediate on above verses and try to implement them in our day to day lives. I hope and pray this will become a continous habit and our lifestyle in CHRIST and not just during this lent season.
Lets fast truely on the things that GOD desires and glorify HIM even in simple things such as our words, thoughts and actions. Forgive others and pray for them.Spend more with GOD.
Make your lifestyle a worship to HIM in other words let your life be a pleasing aroma to GOD.One of my main goals is to start prioritising GOD intentionally above everything else, seeking to hear HIM more and spending more time in meditating HIS Word.
Make these changes and see them become your habit overtime.
You will be transformed from within and enjoy your daily walk with JESUS!!!
Have a great day!