“Why have we fasted, but you have not seen?
We have denied ourselves, but you haven’t noticed!”
“Look, you do as you please on the day of your fast,
and oppress all your workers.
You fast with contention and strife
to strike viciously with your fist.
You cannot fast as you do today,
hoping to make your voice heard on high.
Will the fast I choose be like this:
A day for a person to deny himself,
to bow his head like a reed,
and to spread out sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast
and a day acceptable to the Lord?
Isn’t this the fast I choose:
To break the chains of wickedness,
to untie the ropes of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free,
and to tear off every yoke?
Isaiah 58:3-6 (CSB)
We might profess with our mouths Jesus is Lord, volunteer our weekends for house building in Mexico, fast coffee for Lent, and give our spare change to the homeless man outside the grocery store, and yet our hearts could be missing the mark. Jesus came to do the deep work of restoring justice in this world, and how are we joining Him in that work? Are our eyes open to see the oppressed who are right in our midst? Are we aware of the unjust systems we are a part of? How are we facing the wickedness of our own hearts when we realize it?
True religion is a combination of faith and works — both internal and external. It means uprooting and examining the faith of our childhood against the Word of God. It means wrestling with what it means to love ourselves and our neighbors and then actually doing it in whatever way God asks of you. It means knowing about God and theology is only a part of our faith but learning to live it out is what bears fruit.
True religion changes our lives, our posture before God and others, and frees us so we can free others.
True religion changes our lives, our posture before God and others, and frees us so we can free others. Click To Tweet