Fast Acceptable to God

Isaiah 15: 1-9

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?” Lo, on your fast day you carry out your own pursuits, and drive all your laborers. Yes, your fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw. Would that today you might fast so as to make your voice heard on high! Is this the manner of fasting I wish, of keeping a day of penance: That a man bow his head like a reed and lie in sackcloth and ashes? Do you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? 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. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Commentary:

When I first entered the halls of Sexaholics Anonymous, I came there desiring, as Isaiah speaks of, to fast from pornography use only to pursue my own desire to have a girlfriend. In this selfish pursuit, I failed to recognize that God was offering me through the 12 steps, “a fast day that was acceptable to my Lord”. This selfish pursuit also kept me in darkness and bondage to my addiction, and my problem grew worse. Through working the 12 steps I was able to identify my character defects of selfishness and pride (to name a few) that were preventing me from experiencing “the light that shall break forth like the dawn, and the wound that shall quickly be healed.” Working the 12 steps also helped me to develop the virtues necessary to “release those bound unjustly, untie the thongs of the yoke; Set free the oppressed, break every yoke; Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; Clothe the naked when you see them, and not turn your back on your own.” To this day I do not have a girlfriend (I pray it be God’s will), yet I have over 14 years of sobriety “that breaks forth like the dawn” and this gift of sobriety by God’s grace “goes before me vindicated” freeing me to show “the glory of the Lord that is my rear guard” to all those God puts in my path that are in need of mercy. I have found this to be a fast acceptable to God!

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