Sackcloth and Ashes
We have all heard the expression the clothes make a man. In ancient times and even today the clothes that a man wears says a lot about him. In ancient times if a man wore purple or blue, scarlet or crimson, he was thought to be a man of high degree, royal or a governor or ruler of some type If he wore silk or any other fine material he was assumed to be even the greater.
The Humble Self
However, when a man wore sackcloth, which was the lowest quality of clothes there was, he was saying to the world “I humble myself before the Almighty God” Being publicly naked was the most humiliating state a man could achieve and wearing sackcloth was the next level up from there. This is why the accusers of Jesus Christ took his clothes from him when they hung him on the cross naked. This was the high priest’s way of saying to everyone Jesus is not the King of Jews.
After we have learned to humble ourselves then we learn to fast. We learn to put our bodies under submission, with the hope that in giving up something of the natural, we might attain something of the spiritual. But is this what we really do? Is the fasting of today the same as the fasting of ancient times?
Today we fast for all the wrong reasons, we fast for a new job, a healing, so God can give us this or that or the other, our fast are no longer a period of humbling ourselves before the Almighty God, but a type of forcing the hand of God to do our bidding. Our fast testify of our inordinate order of affections, when we are desiring the gift (God's blessings) greater than the giver.
There is no spiritual growth in fasting because those that fast, desire not to fast; they hear the growl of their bellies more often than the voice of their God. They can't wait until sundown to eat, because they love the food which they should do without, greater than the Savior which they can't live without.
They fast but can’t see the reward of a deeper relationship with God, they can’t comprehend the importance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, they live in an "I" world which has only one letter, and no part of is includes Jesus.Because we fast for the wrong reason we can’t see God’s glory through Christ Jesus, they can only see the things of this world that we think we are without.
Oh if we could realize that God’s Grace is sufficient in our lives. That as James said we should count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations, that we might be perfected in the things of God.
" Oh God give me things, but I won't pray for the homeless, neither have I any compassion for my brother's suffering, nor have I brought an orphan into my house. I have stocked my closet with 20, 30 even 100 pairs of shoes but have never bought one outfit for a victim of a tornado, or gave to a charity without using it as a tax advantage. We think we are God’s children but we are just as lustful and gluttonous as those we call wicked and unsaved. However, on our actions alone who can tell us apart?
This is where we need to be before we can fast on the promises of God. Our fast should never be about forcing the hand of God, but rather about presenting ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable which is our reasonable service.
T. Charves FireSpeaks