No spiritual exercise is effective if it doesn’t change our behavior

It is an Injustice
A Wasted Fast – Part 1

Scripture Reading:  1 John 3:7-10

Key Verse: Isaiah 58:3-4

‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. 4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.

I want to look at God’s people through the eyes of God’s Prophet Isaiah once again today.  In verse three, God’s people were perplexed: “Why have we fasted…why have we humbled ourselves and you (God) have not noticed?”  Then God gives them a startling answer: “On the day of your fast you do as you please and exploit all your workers.”  He continues in verse four: “Your fast ends in quarreling and strife and in striking each other with wicked fists.”  The conclusion from God was that they shouldn’t expect to act that way and hear from God.

These first few devotionals may seem to be about “How to properly fast,” but that is not where I want to take you.  I want you to see a bigger picture.  I want you to focus on some biblical principles.  One of them is that no spiritual exercise is effective if it doesn’t change our behavior.  A spiritual exercise—such as fasting, Bible reading, or prayer—is supposed to lead to better behavior on the part of God’s people.  God was looking at His people in Isaiah’s day and grieving, even though they were faithful in their spiritual exercises.  Unfortunately, these spiritual endeavors became rituals that had no effect on their behavior.  God’s people were exploiting each other and fighting with each other.  (Continued)

Father, please help me use my spiritual disciplines to truly discipline my lifestyle in order to walk worthy of you!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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