So hopefully Part 1 didn’t leave you with to many questions but hopefully wanting to know more. I don’t know if you have ever fasted so I can only speak for myself but I don’t enjoy them. After several days it gets easier but not enjoyable. So I had to think why would they enjoy this? Sadly though we usually don’t look at ourselves with the same critical eye that we look at others with. We are quick to judge others and so very merciful on ourselves. I think here in lies the problem.
Whenever we are going through things that involve others we look from our own perspectives, how this affects me, how I feel etc. In doing this we tend to pray the same way. We pray so that we feel better or that the person changes in order for us to feel better about them. We are consumed with us. Hey, I do this too and am in need of change too so I’m not dropping the hammer but we do see how plainly the scripture said we fast for strife and debate. Instead, as those who are Christians, who are to stand in the gap for those in need, we are to be praying and fasting (or sacrificing) from the perspective of others needs and troubles. We are in essence to meet the needs of theirs and not focus on ours. You’ve heard this before but to be others centered instead of self-centered.
So let’s look at the next portion of the text which explains our Gods generous heart.
6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To loose the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the heavy burdens,
To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out;
When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from your own flesh?
It’s quite the opposite many times of our prayers and fastings. I mean truly do we suffer or sacrifice or go out of our way with fasting for others? So I humbly submit a shift in focus. I know I do this often but how will we grow or be changed into His image if we only look at us. His heart is beautiful and full of mercy and love toward us. It really is the thing that will cause others to see Him in us. And then the part that always amazes me is how He always promises so much blessing to us when we walk like He walks. Let’s look at the blessing that comes when we care about what He cares about.
8 Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
Do you see that?! He promises to take care of your right now, your needs, and to cover you in front and behind. He’s got your back! He will heal us and fast like the dawn of a new day! He says He will hear and answer your prayers. What more do we need? I mean really He always goes above and beyond for us and all the while is only asking that we represent Him properly. I would be upset if I was misrepresented. There are law suits today happening because the media misrepresents and even slanders who people really are. How will they know Him if we don’t show them?
Well I won’t continue to run away with myself. And we aren’t expected to not feel or have times of need ourselves but I’ll save that for part 3. But let’s agree to put our eyes on others and to be true ambassadors of a great and wonderful God today and may His blessings follow you.