Many of us across Christendom are in the midst of some kind of fast or denial. We want to be sure we let God know that we want Him to hear us and the many petitions we intend to bring before HIm. Fasting is a good way to place us in a position to hear God, but it does little to move God to do what He wants us to do.
There are many places in scripture that help us understand what we as God’s people are required to do and to be. However, none is perhaps more simple than that which is found in Micah 6:8 (MSG):
But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don’t take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.
This may be of surprise to you. God is not looking for you to pay penance to please Him; any penance we pay is for our benefit!
Our Father wants us to live the kind of life on a daily basis that takes into consideration the virtues that He exhibits. This is not just a two or three-week time in January when we deny ourselves certain delights, but every day show kindness and compassion, to always forgive and be loyal in our love just as He is.
Perhaps the last portion of this passage is the most important. God does not want us to take ourselves "too seriously". We are not the center of the universe. The sun does not rise and set for us alone. God is concerned about even those that we are mad at. He is concerned even about those who don’t deserve His love and forgiveness. After all, that’s the only reason we got to be n His family!