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?
A biblical faith has no tolerance for so-called devotion to God wherein we shut our eyes to the needs around us. Isaiah confronted the people who were unjust in their personal dealings, who neglected brotherly responsibility toward their fellow human beings, and still sought to have a time of spiritual renewal through fasting and prayer. Even if they lay in sackcloth and ashes, even if they went days without food, God was not moved by their actions, nor were they better off for having done it.
God calls us not just to pray and study but also to proclaim and serve. Whenever we emphasize only one of these we will have our spiritual life out of balance. There are times when God leads us up into the mountains for a spiritual experience, but spiritual renewal must always eventually leads us down into the valley of service; the test of whether our worship was real is if our witness is lived out.
To evaluate the past year it is not enough just to note how many times we attended church, or opened our Bible, or prayed in earnest, but also to consider how many people were touched because we did so. This is true for us as individuals and as churches. It is not enough for a church to have wonderful music, impressive preaching, efficient programs, and an enjoyable fellowship - it must also have compassion to the lost and to the sick and to the poor, and to be just in our dealings. Our worship is incomplete until we do.
Where does your faith touch the world? Where do you make a difference for Christ? Pray, worship, learn, and grow in your faith, but also live out your faith in your work place, give to missions, help the needy in the name of Christ.