Daily Spiritual Vitamin
Day Twelve: Isaiah 58:6-8 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? 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 hide not yourself from your own flesh? 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." (NKJV)
All of us have something within that makes us want to be pleasing in the eyesight of others. Generally speaking, most of us want to be understood, accepted, loved, and well-received by others. For instance, most children want to be affirmed by their parents. Most students aspire to please their teachers. Some employees work diligently for the approval of their supervisors and this is also true for the soldier and his or her commanding officer. However, the truth of the whole matter is that all of us were created by God for His purpose and His pleasure. Life can never be truly fulfilling and satisfying apart from the primary purpose of a life that is pleasing to God!
Our number one priority in this life should be to please God because at the end of this life we want to hear Him say, "well done!" Unfortunately some have "gotten it twisted" and live a life that is opposite of our true purpose. Some act as if God exists solely for their own pleasure, happiness, and blessings. This often equates to an empty religion, dead devotional life, and spirit-less worship where individuals are no longer seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33) but seeking what they can get from God's hand.
In today's devotional text, God is disciplining the Israelites for their "empty religion" and "superficial fasting." They were fasting for the the wrong reasons and with the wrong intentions. In other words, all of their fasting was in vain because their motives were not pleasing unto the Lord. What is a fast that is pleasing unto the Lord?
A fast that is well-pleasing unto God consist of the fast that He has chosen. It's more than abstaining from food, drink, and the simple pleasures of life. God's chosen fast is not about getting God to do something, but rather it's about God getting us to do something! God challenged the Israelites and He's challenging us in this present age to make some changes in our lives. He's challenging us to forgive others, let people "off the hook". He's challenging us to "serve others" in their time of need, going out of your way to minister to others. Jesus said, when you've done it to the least of these, you've done it unto Me." This is a true fast that is pleasing unto God. When we truly change our ways and go deeper in our walk, our worship, our witness, and in God's Word--then and only then we will experience the breakthroughs and bountiful blessings of the Lord mentioned in Isaiah 58:8.
Father, help me to fast and pray in a way that is most pleasing unto You!
Help me to fast from criticism, and feast on praise.
Help me to fast from self-pity, and feast on joy.
Help me to fast from ill-temper, and feast on peace.
Help me to fast from resentment, and feast on contentment.
Help me to fast from jealousy, and feast on love.
Help me to fast from pride, and feast on humility.
Help me to fast from selfishness, and feast on service.
Help me to fast from fear, and feast on faith.