“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” Isaiah 58: 6
Today’s Christian daily devotional
Today, against all natural inclination; John and I are ready for church early! This is good, because I’m hungry to learn. And, that’s always easier to do when you park yourself in a good seat.
As the worship music starts strumming, people begin trickling in. I rummage through my bottomless purse to find a pen and paper. I’m so serious for change; that I’m even equipped to take notes.
Pastor Paul gets up and greets the crowd with a big smile. But by the mischievous look in his eyes; I could see that he was up to something.
“Today, I’d like to challenge you to go on a journey with me.” His large smile fades into something more serious.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to go deeper into God. I want to know more about Him and what His plan for my life is.” I nod in agreement with the crowd.
“That’s why most of us are here.” I think to myself.
As if Pastor Paul heard my thoughts, he pipes up.
“But, are you willing to risk some comfort in your pursuit of God?” Pastor Paul steps back from the pulpit as if to give us a moment to digest his words.
Flipping through his Bible, he lands on Isaiah 58:6:
“Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” Closing the Bible, the pastor solemnly looks up.
“Most people today only talk about fasting as a way to lose weight. But, did you know that the origins of fasting began as a means of hearing from God? When we fast, we are suspending our physical needs (hunger) so we can tap into our human frailty and dependence on God.” I look at the faces around me. Frozen and glazed expressions are spattered throughout the auditorium.
I can’t help but admit that the idea of fasting isn’t exactly what I had in mind for my ‘church’ blessing for the week. I wanted to fill up on some wisdom, not actually experience some hunger!
But, if I really was earnestly searching for a blessing, would I let my laziness get in the way of it? Hmmm…I ponder my own seriousness and commitment.
Pastor Paul then challenged the congregation to personally ask God what food items we as individuals should be fasting from for the next forty days.
After a pretty short and insincere prayer, I quickly decided to give up bread. This is what most people seemed to be committing to. Plus, my jeans were telling me that I didn’t really need those extra carbs anyway!
But, as the Pastor closed his message in prayer, I felt the Lord prompting my heart to give a little bit more. I was moved with an unnatural compulsion to give up something that actually would cause me a bit of discomfort—maybe even withdrawal symptoms!
What do I love and crave on a daily basis? Listening to the latest tunes on my ipod and watching the latest fashion hits and misses on E news. So, I took my feeble commitment and turned it up a notch.
I’m not going to lie; this exercise wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. But, after purging my daily gorge of watching these things, not only do I feel physically lighter, but I’m beginning to see things more clearly in the spiritual realm as well.
The songs and television shows that I used to adore, no longer have that same appeal for me. I’m no longer obsessive about them; I can take them or leave them. I start to wonder: would I have ever been able to hear, see or feel or learn what I know now if I didn’t press through the physical discomfort of abstaining from my favorite things?
The beat of my heart is starting to beat to the tune of God’s heart. But, this took some work on my part.
What about you? Are you ready for a real change?
Allow me the honor of passing the torch of challenge that Pastor Paul passed onto me—Fast for forty days and just see what happens!
“Dear Heavenly Father,
I have talked about making changes for so long, that my own voice sounds like faded wallpaper.
The fact is: I need change. I also need to hear clearly from you.
In Isaiah 58:6 you said that fasting would bring many blessings. It would help break my addictions, clear my mind and bring healing to my spiritual self. I am more than ready for all of these things.
Oh, Lord, my heart is willing, but my flesh is so weak. Forty days feels like an eternity to me; but, the good things in life are reserved for those who have the discipline to fight for what they want in life. I am ready to fight for the things that matter. Hearing from you is very important to me.
Today, I commit myself to a fast. Lord, put on my heart the food items that would be healthy for me to give up in honor of you.
If I cannot commit to any food items (for health reasons), show me what other pleasures of life I can suspend for forty days.
During this time, bless me to hunger for your word. I want to read it and get so much spiritual nourishment that I hardly notice my physical hunger.
In Jesus’ precious name, because I’m really ready to partner with you on a deeper level. Speak to me, Lord. I am listening with an open heart and mind. Amen.”
Thank you for reading today’s Christian daily devotional on verse: Isaiah 58: 6
Please check back and see what we have for you tomorrow!
Author: Julia Shalom Jordan
*Please consult a doctor before embarking on any fast, especially if you suffer from any medical conditions.
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