The Kind of Fast God Chooses

Sometimes you don’t know what’s important to you until it’s gone.

It’s a common understanding, but it holds a profound truth. Yet most of the time we think about it in regards to the things we love and take for granted. “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” It’s easy for all of us to think things will go on the way they always have whether we appreciate it or not.

But I’ve been thinking through this principle in a different sense. “You don’t know what has a hold of you until it’s gone.” It’s not about taking a good thing for granted. Instead, it’s about loving something much more than you ever thought possible. In fact, it’s finding you love something more than God Himself.

The way to discover where our heart truly lies is in the discipline of fasting.

It’s important to note, however, that fasting should not be done for selfish purposes. There are several resources out there to explain how fasting can help you get what you want from God. This understanding promotes the idea that God is a Parent we can manipulate with a our childish fit of refusing to eat. Such fasting is not only unbiblical, it is offensive to God.

We’ve considered Isaiah 58 before, but we went deeper this week in our Commissioning group. In this passage, God’s people are irritated that He hasn’t answered their prayers.

“Why have we fasted,” they say, “and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?” (V. 3, NIV)

Their motivation for fasting was to get what they wanted. It was all about them. If we’re not careful, the discipline of fasting can become the same thing for us.

But what is the kind of fast God chooses? 

Reading Isaiah 58 in its entirety has helped me greatly, and I would encourage you to do the same. For now, I’ll just highlight of few points that have stood out and helped me in my walk with Jesus.

  • True Fasting is consistent with The Great Commandment. In Matthew 22:37-39, Jesus said the greatest command for us to obey is to love God and love others. Fasting is not about us; it’s about God and others. 
  • True Fasting is an opportunity to connect with the heart of God. We all want God’s healing (V. 8). We long to hear His voice (V. 9). We ache to know His presence (V. 9). We desperately need His guidance (V. 11). Fasting is an opportunity to feel the pain of loss in order to be reminded of the True Provider of all our needs. It’s about remembering our First Love.
  • True Fasting is an opportunity to connect with the needs of others. God loves people so much that He died for them. Yet we can become all too comfortable and ignorant of the needs all around us. Fasting from food may be a very small understanding of what it feels like to be hungry (V. 7) and to remember there are those who are hungry every minute of every day. Fasting from activities of life may be a small understanding of what it means to be without freedom to do what you want (V. 6). It’s about remembering the command to truly love others.
  • True Fasting is an opportunity to reveal our idols. It’s easy to take good things for granted, but it’s equally natural to make things more important than they are. Fasting can help us understand where we are “doing as we please” and “going our own way” (V. 13). Perhaps our chosen fast will even show us the true “god” of our life.

In our Commissioning group, we have determined to choose a fasting opportunity. As we practice fasting, it will be a humbling opportunity if we approach it with the right motivation.

The kind of fasting God chooses is the one in which our heart’s desire is to connect our hearts to God and to those around us — just like Jesus

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I’ll be sharing more about fasting this week. If you haven’t, you can enter your email to the right and follow this blog to stay tuned in to our discussion of fasting and other awakening posts.

What are some ways you have fasted that matches the kind of fasting God chooses? Sharing your story below will help others on their journey.

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  1. […] before, but Isaiah 58 does this in an unexpected way. The whole of the chapter seems to be about True Fasting. But God takes an interesting turn right at the […]



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