Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What We Do

Zechariah 7:5-6
(5) "Say to all the people of the land and the priests, When you fasted and mourned in the fifth month and in the seventh, for these seventy years, was it for me that you fasted?
(6) And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves?

This reminds me of a passage in the New Testament as well:

1 Corinthians 10:27-31
(27) If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.
(28) But if someone says to you, "This has been offered in sacrifice," then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience--
(29) I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience?
(30) If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?
(31) So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

The context of the New Testament passage is a bit different because it is talking about matters of conscience. However, the point is that whatever we do it is to be for the glory of God. That should be the overriding focus of our lives.

This passage in Zechariah really condemns those who were not living with proper motives. It's easy to take care of the externals. Going to church each week is pretty easy if you get into the habit. Tithing is not difficult if you change your attitude a little bit. However, doing these things for God is a lot harder.

I think of this with my diet and exercise. I fought a long battle with gluttony and laziness. Yet through it all it was easy to get caught up in doing it for myself. God would get the credit for helping me, but I really was just glad to be losing weight and getting more fit. I still struggle with that.

Ultimately our fasts should be for God's glory. We may reap benefits from them, but they need to be God-centered. I take fasting to go beyond just food as well. It could be abstaining from anything good in the pursuit of Someone better.

Who do you fast for?

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