posted by Joey Bates | Feb 22, 2023

ASH WEDNESDAY - Isaiah 58:1-12

Today begins the season of Lent. It’s a 40 day season leading up to Easter traditionally associated with fasting, which is abstaining from food, drink, or some other activity in order to pursue a relationship with God. The idea is about fasting from something, so that we can feast on God and what He’s done within us. We fast outwardly to create space for God to move inwardly. Today’s reading is about that. 

The people of Israel are being called out on their sin of self-righteous piety. This means that they have acted religiously, but they’ve missed the point of those actions. They’ve gone to worship; they’ve prayed; they’ve fasted, not so that they can pursue God, but so that they can make themselves feel better than other people who haven’t done those things. They haven’t let those actions shape and form who they are and how they see the world. They haven’t been in a true relationship with God. 

This is a great temptation we experience in our own lives, as well. We often believe the lie that just because we’ve gone to church, read our Bible, or prayed that we are a better person or follower of God. But just because we do those things does not mean that we are allowing God to move in our lives. All of those practices are good, but we must not approach them as a check-list to keep. Instead, they are appointments to encounter the true Living God, have Him change us in our hearts, so that we can go impact the world. The question we face this season is: are we going to fast to be with God, so that we experience an inward change for our outward mission? I invite you to decide and write down an intentional plan on what it is you will fast from, how you’re going to fill that time meeting with God, and how you’re going to live out His mission this season. Use Isaiah 58:6-7 as a guide for this time. 

True fasting introduces us to the love of God so that we can produce good works of love into the world.