SHE fasts different
Outside of work, how do you spend the majority of your time?
Netflix binging? Exercising? Volunteering? Hanging out with friends and/or loved ones?
The ways that we spend our after-work hours are usually spent doing things that either feel us up or bring our stress levels down.
In this pre-Easter season, the topic of Lent is on the mind and tongues of many believers as they take the time to give up something they treasure in order to bring them closer to God.
The concept of fasting, however, has also been influenced by culture, specifically church culture.
It's been so heavily influenced that some people spend 6 or more weeks denying themselves of things they love without actually understanding why?
Perhaps you know of someone or are guilty yourself of fasting a meal or social media for days on end. When lunchtime comes you look at your intentionally empty desk where your lunch would usually sit, countdown the minutes until your break is over, pat yourself on the back and cross out another day on your countdown. Or you spend the 30 minutes on Pinterest (since that's technically not social media) scrolling and pinning...and fasting, I guess?
3 ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?
6 “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?
7 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?
I know it's a lot of text, but please don't skim it. Truly take in the message.
This is the verse I read on the 44th day of my 45-day fast. Every day I skimmed through my daily devotion and went about my day waiting for miracles to fall out of the sky.
I mean...didn't God see that I was fasting? Wasn't he impressed that I denied all these things in front of him and my friends.
As my eyes ran across those rebuking verses, I realized that I spent 44 days with my arms stretched out wide expecting God to give me what I wanted...you know since my fasting made us even and all.
You know...no Netflix for a new apartment kind of deal.
It wasn't until I abandoned my fake fast and really sought out God's voice and wisdom, regardless if it fit in my original plans, that I received what was best for me.
That experience has really changed the way in which I fast. Now I check my motives:
Am I fasting to get what I want or to get clarity on what God wants?
Am I taking advantage of even the smallest opportunities to "brag" about fasting or am I resting in humility?
Am I spending my time of self-denial to help someone else and bring glory to God or am I busy finding something else to fill up my time for my own benefit?
As you continue your season of fasting for Lent or for your own spiritual reasons, check your heart and your habits...doesn't it benefit the kingdom?