“This, rather, is the fasting that I wish:
releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking every yoke;
Sharing your bread with the hungry,
sheltering the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own.”
“Fasting is not genuine without reforming one’s way of life.” Note on Isaiah 58: 6-12, from the NAB Bible revised edition
I have found power in fasting. Giving up sustenance to hear God clearer. Helping me to become a better version of myself- in Christ. This Lent, the Lord has whispered to me about silence. So on the Holy Spirit’s nudging I have given up music. This has proved to be an extremely difficult, but needed abstinence for me.
You don’t have to be a Christian to fast and hear God. For those of you that are on your journey, I highly recommend it. But fasting is not a diet nor is it a New Year’s Resolution. No, fasting is so much more than that…
Recently, I have had the occasion to read a broad range of spiritual books. They all have contributed to my life’s journey, tossing me little pebbles along the way. But what I have found is that although many of the books I have read are fascinating, they are also complicated and verbose, and for those of you that know me I am complicated enough as it is…
I am finding that books that require me to carry a dictionary around are just not my thing. I am also noticing my lack of motivation in reading some recent books that I’ve acquired. So many over-philosophical thoughts on Jesus, rote prayer and too much concentration on the bad, and not the good. Many of the first halves of these books start out promising but half way through they fail me. I’ve held onto them because I am a firm believer in finishing what you start, but in the silence that God has provided me, I am seeing that is not the case.
When things are quiet, you can hear. “Not this way, not that way,” says the still small voice. Or louder yet, “Wrong way!” When we are open, when we have our minds set on things above, when we use these forty days to focus on ourselves and the God we serve, it is amazing what we can hear, in silence.
And God tells us what kinds of things He wants from us, if we are listening. We are not here to simply go through the motions- that is religion, not relationship.
We must find the thing that God is calling us to do this Lenten season. What is He calling us to give up? This answer should be simple and transformative, it does not need a theological dissertation.
Through genuine fasting, we come to understand the meaning of sacrifice and of blessing. Yes tradition is beautiful and needed, but it means nothing if we are not committed to hearing God’s call…
This Lent, be committed to the simplicity of sacrifice, whatever that may be individually for each of you. Share it with a friend so that they can keep you accountable to the promise you have made to God. And as you repent and reform from the inside out this Lenten season, you will see God’s hand bolder and greater in your life than ever before!
Join Mary on her Lenten Journey at There’s Something About Mary
5 thoughts on “Simple Christianity: Being our Most Authentic Selves”
We are taught that fasting does not stand on its own, but is Triune, like everything about God and the Christian faith. It must be accompanies by prayer and almsgiving. This is how we grow through our four fasting periods, but most especially through Great Lent.
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I commented on Brother Mike’s studies on Lent also and I’m glad your sharing. I was raised Roman Catholic until just about 17 years old (it was God’s direction for my life, not mine) and I guess I just took it for granted that everyone was familiar with Lent. Since I tend towards more “Protestant, Full-Gospel Churches” I forgot that many don’t observe the Lenten Season or even know what it is. I saw a post where one of our brother’s questioned something about it, so it is a good thing (the Holy Spirit) that you are contributing along with Brother Mike. We all need to understand the significance that some Orthodox Churches give to the Season AND especially the personal journey and what it means in the followers relationship with the Lord! My prayers are with you continually Sis and I am so thankful to the Lord that you are adding your writing and gifts with everyone else! God bless you Sis!!
Thank you so much Roland!!!
I didn’t see this until today – such precious words. “If we are listening.” And my focus this season has been exactly that – to listen. And I am hearing Him. And with the hearing, I feel His arms around me in warm embrace. And with the warm embrace my heart grows, and it opens to His heart. To His Word. To more of what He has to teach me. To this incredible relationship between Him and I. And it is a true awakening; not at all a season of giving something up, but of receiving.
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Yes yes yes exactly! So poetically said my sister!