In an attempt to lose some of the weight that I have gained over the last year, I have been delaying and even sometimes skipping breakfast altogether. I have an app on my phone that keeps track of how long I fast each day. I shoot for between 13-16 hours, because according to the app, that is when ketosis takes place. So far, I haven’t lost much weight, but at this point, I have established a habit, so I just keep doing it.
My spiritual fasting, however, doesn’t seem to work that way. I always look forward to when the fast is over. For example, since Sunday was Easter, my Lenten fast is over. I was counting down those six weeks. For six weeks, I went without meat on Fridays. Now I’m just hoping the local steakhouse will still have lamp chops on their seasonal menu this weekend. When our church ended our Daniel fast, I made bacon the next morning. I think maybe I’m missing the point of the fasts.
Also, I wonder if I’m doing it wrong. Surely, we have the explicit examples of Daniel’s multiple fasts, and Jesus’ forty day fast. But the fast has to be about more than food. Isaiah tells the nation of Israel that their fasts were pointless, and then he offers a better way to show their devotion.
Isaiah 58: 6-8
6 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
To (H)loose the bonds of wickedness,
(I)To undo the [c]heavy burdens,
(J)To let the oppressed go free,
And that you break every yoke?
7 Is it not (K)to share your bread with the hungry,
And that you bring to your house the poor who are [d]cast out;
(L)When you see the naked, that you cover him,
And not hide yourself from (M)your own flesh?
8 (N)Then your light shall break forth like the morning,
Your healing shall spring forth speedily,
And your righteousness shall go before you;
(O)The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
I know that as Christians, we just ended our most common corporate fasting season, and none of us is in a hurry to enter into another one. But the next time we do enter a fasting season, perhaps we should consider fighting for freedom, and caring for the less fortunate, as a part of our experience.