Lenten Devotional : Week 4

True Fasting: Beyond Rituals to Justice

“...this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people.”

Isaiah 58:6

Through the ages, culture has taught us that fasting is about self-discipline and abstaining from luxuries or addictions. Many people worldwide treat fasting as an opportunity to embark on a "Christian diet" plan, break a habit, or simply restrain themselves from things they love as an act of sacrifice. However, in Isaiah 58, we see that God confronts the Israelites for merely going through the motions of religious observance. He admonishes them for failing to understand the kind of fasting He desires (v6).

God desires a fasting that goes beyond personal piety or mere self-sacrifice—it reflects His heart for justice and compassion. He challenges us to engage with the injustices and sufferings of the world, actively working to bring freedom and relief to the oppressed, as followers of Christ.

One urgent area requiring immediate action is addressing the targeted violence and hostility faced by Christians in India. In recent years, there has been a disturbing rise in attacks targeting Christians, often instigated by extremist groups. These attacks range from physical violence and harassment to extreme social ostracisation, false accusations, and legal battles, leaving many innocent Christians imprisoned or facing legal challenges for practicing their faith.

We cannot ignore the plight of our suffering brothers and sisters. In response to God's call for justice and mercy, we must take action to support and advocate for them. ADF India works tirelessly to ensure that individuals and organizations can live out their faith without discrimination or fear of being attacked. This would not be possible without the help of allies across the country who selflessly devote their time and resources to provide aid.

Not all of us can be lawyers advocating in courts and police stations. As you and your church fast and pray, consider supporting the legal ministry of ADF India through disciplined giving and prayer. Your support plays a crucial role in defending the rights of believers, providing legal representation, and advocating for justice amidst these challenges. Together, we can make a tangible difference in their lives.
1. How does your understanding of fasting change after reading Isaiah 58?

2. In what other ways can we contribute to justice in the world?
Heavenly Father, may the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight. Teach us how our fasting can be meaningful, and how our sacrifices can bring justice to this world. May Your Spirit ignite in us a passion for justice and a commitment to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are targeted for their faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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