Congratulations, you have made it to double digits, and by the end of the day, you will be a quarter of the way through the fast. For those who have elected to fast on only water, the experts say that today or tomorrow all hunger and weakness should be gone and the physical health benefits should begin to be readily seen over the next few days.
Whenever I am called to fast, I return over and over to Isaiah 58. This is an amazing chapter that focuses on two things:
1. Fasting the proper way
2. The many personal benefits of fasting
Vs. 1-5 are speaking of a people who had regularly scheduled fasting days. Set times each months, they would fast, supposedly to honor God, and expect to receive the heavenly blessing from these fast. However God rebukes them because of their selfish and evil motives:
Isaiah 58:5 Do you think I’m impressed with that kind of fast? Is it just a day to starve your bodies, make others think you’re humble, and lie down in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call that a fast? Do you think I, Yahweh, will be pleased with that?
A proper fast is not for others to see, but for God to come in and purify our heart and our desires. If we continue fasting to hear from God, but are not obedient to bring our other fleshly desires into control as He reveals them to us, our heart is wrong and we forfeit all the spiritual benefits that we would have received. A change must take place and a humbling of our hearts where Holy Spirit is given the right to search out and place His finger on any area that is out of order. When He highlights this area, we must say, “Yes sir, I give this to you right now. Change me and make me new that I may never return to that old selfish, sinful way.”
As our hearts are set right and our focus is to allow Holy Spirit to renovate and restore our hearts and desires, we will reap the benefits of the fast that follow. Vs. 6 begins this way ““Is this not the fast that I have chosen…“, and what follow are the many varied benefits of fasting with a right heart:
- Loose the chains of wickedness
- Undo heavy burdens
- Set the oppressed free
- Break every yoke
- Share your bread with the hungry
- Shelter the poor homeless
- Clothe the poor naked
- Recognize and provide for those around you in need
- The light and favor of God will shine upon you
- Healing will come forth quickly
- Righteousness will lead you
- Glory of God will follow you
- The Lord will answer your cries
- He will continually be your Guide
- He will faithfully satisfy your soul
- He will constantly strengthen your bones
- You will be given the right to
- Rebuild long-deserted ruins
- Raise up foundations of generations
- Repair the cities
- Restore the communities
The list of benefits in these seven verses is almost overwhelming. You could write books on each one of these topics and God’s amazing power to work through one whose heart is set to follow him in obedience, humility, prayer and fasting.
I encourage you as you continue to walk The 40, return to this passage over and over for encouragement when difficulties arise. Confess and repent of anything revealed by Holy Spirit, and return to the place of right fasting with a right heart. God has designed you for a plan and purpose. You are called to be totally free and walk in Kingdom breakthrough in every area of your life. Partnering with Holy Spirit in fasting and prayer with a true heart of humility and obedience will bring about freedom and breakthrough in a way that will accelerate The Kingdom in and through your life!
Jesus, I pray that you will help my heart to be continually set on you. May my desires line up completely with You and Your word, and my actions continually be obedient to what You speak. I want to lay down my life as a sacrifice that you may use me as an instrument of righteousness to build Your Kingdom however You see fit. Help me to partner with you today in humility and obedience.
- Ask Holy Spirit to reveal any selfish or ungodly desires in your heart
- Bring these before the Lord in confession, repentance and humility
- Meditate on the benefits listed in Isaiah 58
- Ask yourself, “What can God do through my life given to Him completely with a heart of humility and obedience?”
Be blessed today with the ability to walk in new levels of humility and obedience to every leading of Holy Spirit. May this humility and obedience propel you in receiving all these benefits and more that you may accelerate The Kingdom, and advance into the next level with Him.
Jeremiah, Man on Fire!!!