Thus says the Lord GOD:
Cry out full-throated and unsparingly,
lift up your voice like a trumpet blast;
Tell my people their wickedness,
and the house of Jacob their sins.
They seek me day after day,
and desire to know my ways,
Like a nation that has done what is just
and not abandoned the law of their God;
They ask me to declare what is due them,
pleased to gain access to God.
“Why do we fast, and you do not see it?
afflict ourselves, and you take no note of it?” Isaiah 58:1-3
Fasting and abstinence is not a bad thing. These are things that have been done throughout the ages, in order for one to come just a little closer to God. Depending upon your religious creed, fasting and abstinence can include many things, or be just as simple as forgoing a meal or two. There are no real set rules to fasting or abstinence, as in what to give up, what to do, or anything like that.
There is, however, some really good guidelines to follow when you are taking up a fast, or giving something up. First and foremost, you have to want to do it. Nothing that you are doing to become closer to God should feel like a chore. What is the point? No body does anything with any kind of wholeheartedness if you feel like you are being pushed into something. It’s like going to driver’s school after getting a speeding ticket. You are there because you have to be, so is everyone else, and no one is happy about it, you are just trying to get through it. God does not intend a fast for the sake of just doing one, there has to be a reason behind it, and it needs to be because you want to.
Secondly, just like in this reading from Isaiah, tone down the suffering. O.k., I am guilty, in one of my previous posts I wrote about what I am abstaining from this Lent, and how hard it has been for me (yeah, so hard, four days into it)…. I honestly have no reason to complain about it. So, from here until the end of Lent, I will not mention it anymore. There is no point in being boastful about it, especially since when you boast, you are just filling yourself up with a worldly pride that is unnecessary, and doesn’t bread anything that is good. How could anyone of us, who are disciples of Jesus, show anyone who is curious or on their quest to find God how good life is when we walk with Jesus, if we have our heads down and look deplorable? I don’t know about you, but I have had so many blessings since I have made my conversion, I would hate to think that I drove someone away because I was throwing myself a pity party over a fast.
I pray that everyone, no matter what denomination, religion, etc. finds joy and happiness in God. For everyone who is on a Lenten journey, hold your head up, and be proud that you have enough to be able to go without. Find joy in the minor sacrifices you are making. God bless everyone.