3‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’ Behold, in the day of your fast you seek your own pleasure, and oppress all your workers.
4 Behold, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to hit with a wicked fist. Fasting like yours this day will not make your voice to be heard on high. 5 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? Will you call this a fast,and a day acceptable to the LORD?
6 “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? 7 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?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. 11 And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Friend, no one, no one may place upon you a burden that Christ himself has removed by his life, death, and resurrection. Jesus carried every single one of our burdens to the cross, transported it all to hell, and left it there in a pile of ash.
No one–no parent, no teacher, no pastor, nor preacher, no author, nor movement leader–is free to constrain your conscience where scripture does not. No list of demands, no special incantations you must say in just the right way, no ultimatums, no required reading, no groveling before man. Lists like these and craftily erected obstacle courses of flaming hoops and bars raised higher and higher by human hands are the stuff of the spiritually enslaved. These are written in the language of power, control, and ultimately spiritual abuse.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
And do not, oh heart of mine, ever place such upon your brothers and sisters. For it is in so doing that we break not our yokes, but that we break each other.