“liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another”
6 Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Freedom is a beautiful thing, and when we experience freedom because of God’s grace, it compels us to respond in turn to the needs of others. Each of us, a child of our Father who is the light of the world, can also be a light in a dark world.
To fast is to abstain from a personal appetite to further a greater good, a higher purpose. When we choose to give aid to someone suffering from injustice, oppression, hunger, or poverty, we are choosing to abstain from serving ourselves in order to further someone else’s wellbeing.
We don’t do these things to make ourselves feel better; God’s love propels us to reach out because of his love for us. God longs for us to walk in freedom. He longs for us to respond and unleash compassion on those in our communities who are hurting and in need.
When you watch the news, what situations rouse your anger and sorrow most? Stories of prejudice or bigotry? Poverty? Victimization of children or the elderly? Human trafficking? Share with God about what issues awaken the Defender or Advocate within you and most importantly, why.
Pray about how you might serve your community. Ask God to show you where you are needed. Explore with God opportunities around you on our local compassion page, praying for the ones that seem to evoke the strongest response within you.
Here in Isaiah, we see that God desires for his people carry out his love by being actively compassionate to others. Have you seen compassion produce action in your own life? Or is it hard for you to act on the compassion you have? Pray about these things with God, taking time to speak and listen.