Since we are in Lent, I wanted to write about Christ and His life; however, I really felt God leading me back to this scripture that I looked at a few weeks ago when I blogged about justice. Even as I prayed this morning for God's guidance and direction I was still going to blog about Christ, but I felt that I would be walking in disobedience with my personal time with God. After all, what good is spending time with God unless it is obedient time with God? The scripture is about fasting and obedience, which is a topic that is on the top of many people's hearts during Lent. I have to admit that I wonder if we fast out of tradition rather than thinking about why we are fasting. So, lets dig in and look up Isaiah 58.
This is a tough section of scripture to read and I find it convicting my heart. Have you ever fasted before? I think during a fast it is easy to get caught in two different attitudes. The first one being the thought of how holy we are for doing a fast and that we just may be closer to God than most people. This is a very prideful attitude and it will not accomplish the purpose of the fast. The second emotion can be one of dread and saying, "I can't wait for this day to be over!" That attitude also misses out on the opportunity to hear from God because we are looking forward to the moment our abstinence is over. The potential problem we face during fasting is our heart.
At a cursory look at Isaiah 58, we see that attitude of the heart is everything to God. He doesn't want to see us fast without experiencing a closeness with Him that changes our heart, behavior and attitude. Isaiah 58:5 says, "Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?" God is telling us that the action of the fast is not what makes it acceptable; reading on in Isaiah 58 tells us that becoming the people He wants us to be should be the end result. Abstinence from our human, sinful nature is what He wants to see. Fasting from the things that take us away from God so we can spend time with Him and search our hearts is what He wants.
Are you spending time with God? Are you allowing God to inspect your heart?