“In this world you will have trouble.” John 16:33 (NIV) Where do people get the idea that if you follow Jesus you can expect a life that is free from failure, disappointment, and loss? This is exactly the opposite of what Jesus says. Jesus confronts His disciples with the realities...
“Is such the fast that I choose, a day for a person to humble himself? Is it to bow down his head like a reed, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him?” Isaiah 58:5
God is looking for something more from his people: “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?” (58:6-7).
That’s justice! Justice means integrity, trustworthiness, truthfulness, doing right, loving your neighbor as yourself, caring about the plight of others as if it were your own.
Do you see what God is saying? “I know that you have been to worship, read the Bible, prayed, and fasted. But here’s my question: Have you done something to help someone who is hungry, or who has no home, or who needs clothing?”
This is not an isolated theme in Isaiah. It goes to the heart of authentic Christianity. “If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” (1 John 3:17). In other words: If you do not love your brother, what reason is there to think that you are a Christian at all?
A fresh movement of the Holy Spirit begins with God restoring faith, joy, and repentance. But it does not end there! Revival begins in the heart, but it does not end in the heart.
Why must faith and repentance in your heart lead to love and justice in your relationships?