Spiritual fasting is an important Christian discipline. Whether you are fasting with your church or doing a personal fast, it’s important to do so with full sincerity and offer to God a fast that is pleasing to Him.
In Isaiah 58:1-11 God speaks through the prophet Isaiah and describes the type of fasting that does not please Him and the fast that does please Him.
Why Do We Fast?
Fasting is a time that we take to humble ourselves before the Lord and to seek His face intensively. We draw close to God and seek His Spirit in sincerity in spirit and in truth.
It is a period of time in which we turn our eyes away from satisfying the flesh, and we seek nourishment for our souls.
In Matthew 4:4 Jesus says
“It is written,
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
By fasting, we humbly acknowledge that God is supreme and most important to us, even more so than food or anything else.
Fasting that Does Not Please God
Isaiah 58:3-4 describes the fasting that does not please God. In this passage, the people questioned God. They asked God why He ignored their fasts.
The answer was simple. They may have been going through a physical show of fasting, however their hearts did not truly seek God. They continued to sin against God, they did not repent of their sins, and they did whatever they felt like doing.
This is not what God expected nor wanted from them. In verse 5 we see that God did not want an empty show.
Fasting that Pleases God
Isaiah 58:6-7 describes the fast that pleases God. The fast that He wants from us is not only the physical act, but also the repentant heart. He calls for us to help one another with compassion, to graciously forgive one another. He calls us to repent from sin, to truly seek His face and to live according to his ways.
Psalm 51:17 says
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
A fast acceptable to God is one in which we humble ourselves, we submit to God, and we recognize and repent of our sin. God always responds to those who seek Him sincerely.
So what kind of fast are you offering up to God?
Let us fast with sincerity. Let us seek the face of God, His kingdom and His righteousness. He will bless us and we will grow spiritually.
Fasting before God is a wonderful thing 🙂