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This  is a word from Pastor Timothy Burdick, Minister of Abilities for Friday Study Ministries:

A LOOK AT FASTING

"Is it (fasting) not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? "Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard" (Isaiah 58:7-8)

I have heard a lot about fasting, and am concerned, because some people seem to see it only as a means by which they can be blessed. While it is true that fasting can be a source of blessing, it is not merely a tool for me to use to get my desires met. If you remember in the New Testament the Pharisees used fasting as a way to show the world their self-righteousness. But this is not its purpose either, for fasting does not earn a person "brownie points" with God. It does not make them "SUPER CHRISTIANS" by any means! The Bible says, that "all our righteousness is as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). Our righteousness was paid for once and for all on the cross and was given as His free gift to you and to me.

Fasting is mentioned throughout the entire Bible. In addition to Old Testament figures, it was done by people like John the Baptist, those in the early church and the Lord Jesus Himself. Fasting, used correctly, is a great way to break the tyranny of fleshly appetites, and to give your undivided attention to God. But it is much more than just giving up a meal; it is a way of looking at life. In Isaiah 58:7-8, God has this to say: Is it (fasting) not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? "Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard."

Think back on the life of Jesus while meditating on this Scripture in Isaiah. He was sent to break both the physical and spiritual chains of the oppressed. Going without, from His perspective, was simply a way for Him to prepare His heart so that He could complete His mission.

The Bible teaches us that we are to be conformed into the image of Christ. Shouldn’t giving up something that I want then be a tool to prepare me to tell the world about his love? Shouldn’t service to others be my goal? When I see someone truly going without, shouldn’t I try and meet their physical needs, even if I have to give up something of myself to do it? A true fast, of the kind mentioned in Isaiah 58, helps me to love God more so that I can respond more effectively to the needs of my neighbor.

Contact: Pastor Timothy Howard Burdick

Friday Study Ministries
www.FridayStudy.org
www.FirstChurchOnTheNet.org

 

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