When fasting is valuable: Spend 5 with Jesus: February 25, 2023
When fasting is valuable
Thus says the LORD: If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday; Then the LORD will guide you always and give you plenty even on the parched land. He will renew your strength, and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring whose water never fails. The ancient ruins shall be rebuilt for your sake, and the foundations from ages past you shall raise up; “”Repairer of the breach,”” they shall call you, “”Restorer of ruined homesteads.””
How wonderful it is when our fasting can really make a difference in the lives of others by our witness to the faith. Even better when our fasting is such that it continues beyond the season of Lent. Our compelling witness changes us when we love God more and love neighbor more.
All sin is a failure of relationship. In the Garden of Eden, the failure of Adam and Eve was one that did not value the relationship with God more than the lure of fruit. Their decision to reject God’s command and eat the fruit broke their relationships. It broke, of course, their relationship with God, but also their relationship with each other and the world. It even broke their relationship with themselves in causing shame.
Fasting can be understood as the restorer of a relationship. By going hungry, it is possible for us to develop empathy for the hungry, and thus feed them. By engaging in other types of fasting, it can help us to control our desires in a way that serves others. By controlling our simple desires, it can help us to remove the types of bad speech that comes from deep within us.
But all fasting still needs to have the focus of following more fully the two-fold command of loving God and loving neighbor. And when we do more fully love God and love our neighbor, by removing malicious speech, feeding the hungry and satisfying the afflicted, then our fasting becomes quite valuable.
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