True fasting Christian Aid website

A reflection based on Isaiah 58:1-12

Lent is a traditional time of fasting. But what motivates us to give something up? Is it a step towards self improvement? Or a way we can focus on how to more fully glorify God?

In Isaiah 58 we read God’s words to Israel. They are rebuked for carrying out their religious duties but continuing to treat each other badly.

Isaiah outlines how people should act in ways that go beyond religious duty and glorify God for example, how fasting is more than an activity that makes us feel better about ourselves.

Jesus echoes the words of Isaiah making it clear in Matthew 25:43 that serving other people allows us to glimpse the Kingdom and honour God; for example because ‘just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me’.

Perhaps then, as we begin this time of fasting we should always keep in mind that the act of self denial should not be our primary concern. But rather, it is a time we can use to focus on our walk with God.

What will you do during Lent this year to fast in the manner that Isaiah speaks of?

Perhaps it won’t be to give something up, but rather, take up a new attitude of thanks for what God has provided and a desire to care for his creation.



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