True Fasting // A Lenten Bible Study
Get over yourself. No really, let's get over ourselves.
True fasting is giving up ourselves and being filled with Jesus.
Last week we read through Isaiah 58:1-5 and how our attempts at pleasing God without faith is impossible. Fasting isn't a bag of tricks that we pull out of our pocket when we want God to answer our prayers the way we want.
No, that is not the kind of fast that God has chosen. THIS is.
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 58:6
We cannot turn a blind eye to the injustice in our churches, communities, culture and world!
Jesus wasn't out on the streets with signs picketing the injustice of the government or culture when he was on earth. Instead of pointing out the problems in the face of the enemy Jesus was the answer to the problems. In His love he brought food, healing, and eternal life to those who were hurting around him. Jesus even tells us to love our enemies and pray for them. Matthew 5:44
We need to be informed about events in our world - not to debate - but to give a reason for the hope and love that we have even in the face of persecution! in the face of death! 1 Peter 3:15-16
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
What is true fasting?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter— when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Isaiah 58:7
Are we willing to give up ourselves - our comfortable living rooms - our comfortable savings - to go where Jesus went? He came to save the lost and actively sought out the sick and poor.
We may hide behind rolled up car windows from the homeless man asking for money... we may avoid calling that certain family member that we haven't seen in years... we may not answer to insult... we are afraid of getting hurt.
But love casts out all fear. 1 John 4:18. We reach out to the broken with the gospel and give to those who ask. Luke 6:30-31
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
True fasting is abstaining from ourselves and being filled with Jesus to serve him and others.
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:8
Oh! What lovely text there is here in verse 8! When we look to the benefit of others over ourselves our lives change in ways that we could have never imagined. The Holy Spirit opens our eyes to see need in more places but instead of serving out of obligation we serve out of love. Our God fills our hearts with compassion instead of hate.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. Isaiah 58:9
I am grateful that you are joining me during this season of Lent in God's Word.
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Week One - Fake Fasting Week Two - True Fasting If you want to be a part of the bible study I highly recommend being a part of the Facebook group where we get to know you more and be mutually encouraged in God's Word throughout the week! The Facebook group is private so any information that you share will be seen only by those allowed in the group.
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