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Instagram Living vs Inner Life
True Fasting (True Lent) is about ridding ourselves of pretense, performance, false religion.
Instead of asking, “How do I look or appear before others?”, fasting forces us to ask, “How is it with my soul? How am I doing with God?”
- Time (Who do we use time for?)
- Money (What is our money invested in?)
- Relationships (Who has God called me to?)
Allow me to read from Isaiah, and let’s let this prophet speak to us directly.
Adaptation of Isaiah 58:1-4 for Ekko.
Come on guys. Let’s confess. Let’s be honest with God and each other. Something is wrong, our lives are full of sins we refuse to look at. We’re busy. We’re so busy. We busy ourselves even with worship, and we love to study God, but we avoid him in our private moments, we ignore his voice in the silence of our nights. To those around us, we’ve convinced that we are ok, and that we are righteous, good Christians, mature adults. We love it when we get our way, when God does our bidding, but we are not quick to offer our lives for his glory. And when it gets hard, we simply complain. Our fasts become ways of complaining. We have forgotten the art of praying. We seem to only pray for profit, for position, for pleasure. We fast, but at the same time we bicker and we fight.
Message Version of Isaiah 58:14
God says in response, “5 Do you think this is the kind of fast day I'm after: a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black? Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, God, would like? 6 "This is the kind of fast day I'm after: to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts. 7 What I'm interested in seeing you do is: sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families. 8 Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The God of glory will secure your passage. 9 Then when you pray, God will answer. You'll call out for help and I'll say, 'Here I am.' A Full Life in the Emptiest of Places "If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people's sins, 10 If you are generous with the hungry and start giving yourselves to the down-and-out, Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be bathed in sunlight. 11 I will always show you where to go. I'll give you a full life in the emptiest of places - firm muscles, strong bones. You'll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. 12 You'll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You'll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again. 13 "If you watch your step on the Sabbath and don't use my holy day for personal advantage, If you treat the Sabbath as a day of joy, God's holy day as a celebration, If you honor it by refusing 'business as usual,' making money, running here and there - 14 Then you'll be free to enjoy God! Oh, I'll make you ride high and soar above it all. I'll make you feast on the inheritance of your ancestor Jacob." Yes! God says so!”
Question from Isaiah Worth Considering During Lent
- How can I participate in the “breaking of the chains of injustice”, “freeing the oppressed”?
- How can I help get rid of exploitation in the workplace?
- Who owes me money, an apology, etc. How can I “cancel debts”?
- How can I “share my food with the hungry”?
- How can I “invite the homeless into my life”?
- Who can I “put clothes” on that are experiencing “coldness”?
- How can I be more “available and/or attentive to my own families.”
- What “unfair practices” do I need to stop doing?
- How can I “quit gossiping about other people's sins”?
- How do I treat the Sabbath? Do I use the Church and its People?
- How can I express joy and gratitude on the Sabbath?
- How can I celebrate God more abundantly in my life and on the Sabbath?
- How can I slow down so as to be more available and attentive to God?
Respond with Prayer & Journal.