Zechariah 7:5 Ask all the people of the land and the priests, “When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?”
Can you do something without doing something? That’s the question I am pondering today. Can you walk across the street without walking across the street? No. Can you go skydiving without jumping out of a plane and using a parachute? I hope not. Can you cook dinner without actually cooking dinner? Maybe if it’s a Costco lasagna. Can you go to work but not actually go to work? Now we’re getting warmer. I guess you could show up physically but not be there mentally. Can you do Christian things without really living like a Christian? Yes.
In Zechariah 7:5, God wants to know – “when you fasted, were you really fasting?” Let’s just assume that God actually knew the answer to this question. And with that, I can assume that the answer was no. So what did He mean by that? Here’s what I think: Just because they didn’t eat, doesn’t mean that they had the attitude of fasting. The attitude of fasting is to deprive your fleshly desires in order to draw you close to God. It is about creating a setting in which you become hungry for Him and are drawn closer in your relationship. That’s fasting. Skipping a meal doesn’t count.
You see, it is the heart of the matter God was getting at. He asked Israel to fast in order that they would be drawn back to Him. But all they did was not eat. I think we do some of the same things today. We read our Bible because we are supposed to, but miss what it is saying to us. We tithe because we were told we have to, but aren’t actually putting God first in our lives (which is the point.) We pray our list like we are praying to Santa rather than truly connecting to our Father. We go to church because that’s what Christians do, but don’t strive to be the Body of Christ.
It’s the heart that counts. That’s what the Lord was saying through Zechariah. He asks us to do these things because they are what transform us. Following Jesus is not a list of rules; it is a life set free to pursue our Savior!
*You really can do something without doing something. Do you have anything in your life that fits that description?