In Isaiah 58:1-14, God talks of the people’s idea of fasting which isn’t His idea. He then gives examples of what fasting looks like to Him. He doesn’t say to “give something up” but to give to other people. To make burdens light on others, feed them, clothe them, help them. Then He will be with you and help you and your light will shine among the darkness. Keep the Sabbath holy and delight in the Lord and don’t pursue your own interests on that day.
When we help people with the right motives God blesses us. If we don’t particularly want to do these things but override the flesh and do them knowing we are doing them for God then it becomes fasting. Romans 8:6-11, The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. 7 The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. 8 Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.9 You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.
Lent to Repent
The scripture reading today is Romans 8:12-17. It’s talking about our sinful nature and if we have the Spirit of God living inside us we will be able to overcome the sinful nature. We are no longer slaves to it. With God’s Spirit joined to ours we become children of God.
Ann says: Today we will practice our faith- because we will practice joy. Practice thankfulness. Practice smiling, practice Counting Gifts. We will repent of forgetting we are the Resurrection People.
The scripture reading sheds new light on what God calls fasting. I see that what He considers fasting is “giving up” our way and living His way. Living His way goes against our nature but if His Spirit is truly living in us and guiding us we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. We can live holy as He is holy. This is how we do it. 1 Peter 1:16, For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” Giving up our sinful nature ( doing it our way) and doing life His way is what makes Him glad.
In my readings today from the Mosaic Bible, it’s talking about and giving examples of God’s grace in the past. Such as, when God provided water to the Israelites, when Jesus revealed Himself to the woman at the well, the mere creation of everything reveals God’s grace towards us. Even though sin has entered the world, the world God created to be perfect, God is transforming it little by little by His grace. Jesus is the beginning of God’s grace and He can transform your life into a life full of grace if you allow Him to do it.
Now this question of holiness has been in my mind the last few days and I couldn’t believe it is part of my devotion. There are 3 questions that are being asked: What is holiness? Where is holiness? And who is holy?
Since I have questioned this myself recently I will cite where I got these answers.
What is holiness? (gotQuestions.org)
Absolute perfection. God is holy because He is unlike any other. (Hosea 11:9) His very being is completely absent of any trace of sin. (James 1:13 and Hebrews 6:18)
Where is holiness? ( my interpretation)
Holiness is found in God of course. In the Old Testament the Temple was holy because God’s presence was there. Now that Jesus has come and left us with the Holy Spirit, holiness is found everywhere. Holiness is found in ourselves (believers) and in everything because God is everywhere and in everything.
And who is holy? (gotQuestions.org)
God says for us to be holy as He is holy. ( Leviticus 19:1-2 and 1 Peter 1:16)
To become holy we first need a right relationship with God which comes by believing in Jesus Christ as Savior. We must make sure we are “born again” believers, see John 3:1-3. If we are truly believers then we recognize our position in Christ automatically sets us apart from the world. Live a “set apart” life living according to God’s Word, studying it and growing in it. God isn’t calling us to be perfect, but to be distinct from the world. (1 Peter 2:9). Peter tells us how to be holy and stay holy on a day to day basis. ( 1 Peter 1:13-16)
My reading in the Mosaic Bible is about sin and how the world is so immune to it. He explains how sin is “missing the mark”. What mark you may ask? The mark is the moral standard for all humanity that comes from the holy character of God. We all fall short. Romans 3:23-24, since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God,24 and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,
God’s glory, His holiness is a standard we can not live up to. But God has made a way through Jesus Christ for us to have peace with God. Jesus lived a sinless life, He didn’t miss the mark. He is our only avenue to get to God. We have to be sinless to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. This is impossible without Jesus. His righteousness is substituted for our sinfulness. He paid the price for us. All we have to do is receive this free gift. Ephesians 2:8-9, For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; 9 not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. Bible references from Bible Gateway.