The past few blogs we have been preparing and encouraging the women of Calvary to get prepared, to get ready for the fast and for revival. For this Sunday, God laid some pretty heavy stuff on my heart to ask the ladies in the small group I lead, and I want to pass those along to you.
- What are your motives for fasting?
In Isaiah 58, the people were fasting but getting nothing from it. You know why? Because they did it for appearance sake. They Bible says, they "seem eager." Their fasting was on a superficial, ritualistic level. Are you fasting simply because everyone else is? Are you fasting because you want that time of cleansing and getting your relationship with God on a deeper level? In Isaiah 58:1-5 the people were fasting the way they wanted to and then they were doing what they wanted. The result of their fast – quarrelling and strife. Their definition of fasting was not God's. What is it that God wants you to fast?
- Are you willing to fast God's way?
God's definition of fast was connected to behaviors. He wants his people to live an over-comers life not bound to our sin or to be controlled by our sin. He wants the "ropes of the yoke" to be untied. What are you in bondage to?
God's definition of fasting was very different from their definition of fasting. The results of fasting God's way led to drastically different results than those who fasted their own way.
- Are you willing to do what the Lord leads you to do during the fast and as a result of the fast?
The way God desires us to fast means He will lead us to action. In Isaiah 58, fasting God's way lead to social action – feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the naked. That means getting outside the church walls to serve him by ministering to others. It can be uncomfortable, but that's when you know you're growing. It won't be your idea, and that's when you know that God is leading you to put aside yourself to put others first.
- What are the benefits of fasting God's way?
In verses 8 and 9 it shows if we fast God's way and IF WE ARE OBEDIENT, the reward is recovery/restoration. The reward is that he will be found.
Fasting is a denial of our selfish desires putting God first and foremost in our lives. By focusing on God, we are choosing to feed our spiritual life. WHAT YOU FEED FLOURISHES. WHAT YOU STARVE SHRIVELS. When you feed your spiritual life it grows, and your fleshly desires shrivel up. When we feed our fleshly desires (food, anger, spending, pride, you fill in the blank) then those fleshly desires will flourish. They don't stay contained to just one area of your life. Satan has a foothold with one sin in your life, he does not stop there. It spreads.
Ephesians 4:21-31 shows that by accepting Christ and being baptized we are bound to him. He died and conquered sin once and for all. We don't have to live in bondage to our fleshly self. We don't. "The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come so that you may have life more abundantly." John 10:10. Romans 6:1-14 says we are to count ourselves dead to sin and alive in Christ. We have to die to our fleshly desires daily and choose to follow Christ. We do not have to be bound to our sin. It's a choice. What will you feed? Will you feed your flesh, or will you feed your spiritual life? And if you decide to feed the spiritual and God leads you to do something during the fast or as a result of this fast, ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT?
Ladies, it's time for some spring cleaning a few months early. We need to get rid of the things we cling to that are of our fleshly desires and embrace those things that God leads us to.