Crossroads Church is beginning a 40 day period of fasting on Monday, August 9, 2010. I will not divulge to you what specifically I am choosing to 'fast', as that is unimportant to anyone but myself and God. I will say, however, that I am very excited to see what it is that God is going to do in the lives of our people. What I want to encourage all who read this post to do is to pray for our congregation. Not that we would be able to endure through the fast, but that indeed our folks would "loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke" (Isaiah 58).
This time of prayer and fasting is for "oneness" in our church. The thing that we choose to fast should be replaced with time spent in prayer or study with God. Fasting accomplishes a few things in our lives, then.
First, biblically, fasting is to loose the bands of wickedness, undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke. The 'bands of wickedness' means that if you are in bondage to this world in any way, fasting can be one way to free yourself from that bondage. Addictions, attitudes, bad thought processes, lack of discipline, etc. If you feel like you are in prison to the "bands of wickedness", then perhaps you should prayerfully consider a biblical fast to loose the bands of wickedness.
It is also to undo the heavy burdens. When we bear the weight of our sin, it is like a backpack loaded with weights. You have to carry whatever you put in there. Jesus told us to set that 'weight' aside, and to take on his burden, his yoke, because it is light and easy. If you think that is easier said than done, then perhaps you should prayerfully consider a biblical fast to undo that heavy burden.
It is also to 'let the oppressed go free'. Are you harboring bitterness against a brother or sister in Christ? Maybe even to someone who is not a believer? Your anger and bitterness towards others is a form of oppression. Maybe you feel that person really really deserves your anger because they are such a weasel (or worse). If you have the power to let the oppressed go free, then you are the one doing the oppressing. If you have ought against any person, then perhaps you should prayerfully consider a biblical fast to let the oppressed go free.
Finally, this verse says it is to 'break every yoke.' Do you know what a yoke is? Merriam-Webster defines it as "a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together b : an arched device formerly laid on the neck of a defeated person c : a frame fitted to a person's shoulders to carry a load in two equal portions d : a bar by which the end of the tongue of a wagon or carriage is suspended from the collars of the harness e (1) : a crosspiece on the head of a boat's rudder (2) : an airplane control operating the elevators and ailerons f : a frame from which a bell is hung g : a clamp or similar piece that embraces two parts to hold or unite them in position" A yoke is both an instrument that allows certain types of work, and something that binds two things together. Perhaps you are in a bad relationship or friendship. You may be in a job that works you so hard you can't stay in balance in other areas of your life. If you find yourself under a 'yoke' that you should not be shouldering or are in a damaging relationship, you should prayerfully consider a biblical fast to break every yoke.
I have more to say on the next verse, but for now, you just need to know that today's post, if you didn't figure it out already, is about "Inreach" on a personal level.
I really hope you all have a fantastic Monday!!!