DSC_0731There was a time when fasting was a part of my Christian walk. Though profitable for a time, it became a religious thing; so I put it down for a season – until I could find God’s heart in it. Recently, the Lord put it back on my mind and stirred the desire in my heart for the fast that pleases Him.

The following is a brief summary of what I have come to understand about “The True Fast” of Isaiah 58. I hope you will use it as a launching point for your own exploration. To help in your discovery, keep in mind that the precepts of the Old Covenant are often examples of the New. In this case, the true fast is a foreshadowing of the fasted lifestyle.

Whom have I in heaven but You? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Matthew 5:6

“The fasted lifestyle is about desire and wholeheartedness, about setting aside our physical hunger for things, as we commit wholeheartedly to grow in intimacy with Jesus.” Mike Bickle; Director of the International House of Prayer, Kansas City

The True Fast

Begin this study by reading Isaiah 58, in full. Then, consider the following thoughts as you reread each verse:

Verse 1: This is an important message. Give it your full attention. It is about the sins of God’s people.

Verse 2: Seeking to know God’s ways – even daily – is not enough. Righteousness and obedience are required. Jesus said much the same thing at the conclusion of His Sermon on the Mount:

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. Matthew 5:24-27

Verse 3 – 5: God is saying to His people, “What are you complaining about? What have you done for others; for the least of these? The fast I have chosen is not about you – what you do for, or to, yourself. Your fasting produces something that I will not bear.”

The issue of the fast is not the fast itself, but what the fast produces. This is an important paradigm shift. Fasting for self is not what God is after. There are more important things at stake.

Verse 6: The fast that God has chosen is about others. It is about the strong serving the weak; like Jesus. Consider the way He described His mission.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
Luke 4:18-19

God uses the true fast to make us like His Son; Who says to us, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21) Here we begin to see the connection between fasting and the fasted lifestyle.

Verse 7: The fasted lifestyle includes a heart willing – even eager – for sacrificial service to others. It is about being sheep, and not goats.

And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” Matthew 25:33-36

Verse 8: The fasted lifestyle manifests the life of Jesus Christ; as we live out of His life, for the Father’s glory. It is the normal (and supernatural) Christian life.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:4

But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption — that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
1Corinthians 1:30-31

Verse 9: The fasted lifestyle finds amazing intimacy with God. Furthermore, it is not only about individuals. The fasted lifestyle affects entire fellowships; producing relational health, as we turn away from fault-finding, blame shifting, gossip, back-biting and slander.

Verse 10: The fasted lifestyle naturally includes ministry that testifies of Christ’s abiding presence.

And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:5

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. Luke 13:35

Verse 11: The fasted lifestyle manifests the supernatural flow of the Holy Spirit – with all His gifts and fruit.

He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. John 7:38

Verse 12: Those who pursue the fasted lifestyle shall become disciple makers and transformation agents – the Bride making Herself ready – hastening the day of the LORD.

Verse 13: The fasted lifestyle is about entering the LORD’s rest; totally submitted to His honor, ways, pleasure, and words. Christ is our Sabbath; His life is our resting place.

Verse 14: Last, but not least, the fasted lifestyle is used by God to make His people soft and delicate towards Him (the literal meaning of “delight”). We become moldable as clay, for His making; that He might exalt and bless His children with many spiritual offspring.


The true fast is a gateway to our being made into true followers of Jesus Christ. The act of fasting is a way to practice the fasted lifestyle. As we focus on what God intends to produce from our fasting, He will stir up the desire in our hearts for the normal Christian life; and, He will give us opportunities to express that life onto others. As this becomes our lifestyle – for God’s purposes – we will discover that the things of this world grow progressively dim in the presence of His glory and grace.

Humbly yours and forever His,