Godly Fasting

Dear Fasters,

When you hear the term “fast or fasting “ in a spiritual context what do you think of?

On trips with “ Love Light and Melody “ whether to Nicaragua or to The Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the scriptures are often opened up in many ways. One of the chapters that is often explored is Isaiah 58. Several times in these sacred words it mentions the phrase “fasting or to fast.”  To fast is to eliminate something from our daily lives that we may not feel like we can live without. For some, fasting might mean driving past their favorite coffee shop and not stopping. Another person might give up TV for a period of time. Some might not purchase new clothes or go out to eat. Some refrain from solid food for a period of time.  Face book or Google could be fasted from.  The goal is to give up some earthly tangible thing we cling to that we might fill the void with the way of God.

In Isaiah 58 people are giving up things for attention and recognition, this is not the spiritual way of fasting.  God says, “ Why do you fast but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice? Look you serve your own interest and on your fast day and oppress your workers.” (Isaiah 58:3 NRSV).  God is not interested in fasts that are motivated to get the attention and recognition of others. Only when  we release items of this world we enjoy and find happiness in to focus upon God's glory and not our own, are we fasting in a godly manner.   When we are empty and dependent upon God, our Creator is at the ready to come and  fill whatever emptiness we have inside.

The Lord will have our back when we are vulnerable,“…the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 58:8 NRSV) God will come and protect us and offer what we need when we place our trust in God.

This week I am stepping back a bit and have asked the fulltime staff to do so as well. To depart as much as possible from the tasks of ministry and enter into the love of the one whom we are called to minister. In my times of fasting from the daily schedule that too often handicaps my spiritual formation, I ask myself some questions which a mentor Reggie McNeal inspired.

  • “What do I (you) want to see God do in your life?”
  • “How might I pray for myself (yourself) and who might I ask to pray for me (for you)?”
  • “What Bible verse(s) are on my heart and itching my very soul to make an impact on my (your ) transformation?”
  • “Who is Jesus calling upon me (you) to pray for, or have even the simplest of conversations with about God's presence in their life?”

May we fast enough to have the time and inner space to practice such ways of spiritual formation.

Still in one peace,

Pastor David J. Jensen

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