Seeking Honour in Fasting!!!
Moreover, when you fast, do not be Like the Hypocrites with a Sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting… they have their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,… But your father who is in the secret place, and your father who sees in secret will reward you openly…… Matthew 6:16-18
In these verses, Jesus continues on His theme of doing that which is good but with a wrong motive. We have seen how it is possible to do charitable deeds and pray which is a good thing to do but Yet corrupted because of our wrong motives. What gives our spiritual activities Value is that it is done for the Glory of God. What is important is not what we do, but why we did it.
Fasting is an act of self denial of our bodily needs so that we can devote ourselves to prayer. Fasting is the act of denying our body it’s legitimate needs and saying to God that we are unworthy of our Daily bread. So that we may be more lively in religious activities. Although, there is no Command in the New testament that tells us to Fast like the case of prayer where we are commanded to Pray always(Luke 18:1). Fasting is something that is optional and something that must be done according to the Leading of the Holy Spirit and ones burden. Though Fasting is a good spiritual practices, we read that the early Apostles Fasted(Acts 13:3, 14:23). It was even suggested for married couple to Fast(1 Corinthians 7:5). So we must give people freedom in the area of Fasting to choose when they want to fast and how long they want to. We become Pharisees when we make Fasting a Law for people. We are not to dictate to people that during a particular day of the week or month, they must fast. We may advice them on the benefits of Fasting and the reward of Fasting but we must give freedom for them to choose when they want to fast and how long they want to so that it can be done in secret before God alone.
However, even though it is not a Law, it must be noted that Fasting is something the Lord expect His Disciples to engage themselves in as a result of Longing for deeper Fellowship with the Bridegroom(Matt 9:15). And also because there is a reward in Fasting. So Jesus says ” When You Fast, do not do it Like the Hypocrites” what is important is not the Fast itself but the motive behind it. It is better to eat and drink to the Glory of God(1 Corinthians 10:31) than to fast for a whole month for the Honour and glory of Men. Who would you think is more Spiritual between someone that Eats and Drink everyday to the Glory of God and someone that Fast everyday to have a reputation of being devoted and zealous from men? I guess you know the answer!!! We become Hypocrite when we fast and put up a show on our appearance so that people might see that we are fasting. All our fasting should be in secret as far as it depends on Us. We must never talked about our fasting to people. Even when we fast in group as a Family or as a Church, we must keep it secret among the group. It is a total disobedience to this command of Jesus when a Church announces it fasting days to the world at large. We must teach each members of our family and church the importance of Keeping the fast as a secret. Members of Churches who publicly announce their fasting dates falls victim of inquisitive unwise people always asking them how far they have gone in their fasting. And it becomes difficult for members of such churches to hide the fact that they are fasting.
Similarly, there is a Great lust in those who fast in secret to talk about it when they give testimonies. Testify to what God did but don’t mention the fact that You fasted. Don’t talk about the Fast!!! Don’t draw the Glory to the fact that You fasted. Fast is not a way to condition God to do something. Don’t lose your reward before others in sharing testimonies. Remain Humble. Keep your fast secret. There is a reward in Fasting, there are things we cannot accomplish through prayer only but with prayer and fasting(Matt 17:21) those who never fast cannot benefit this reward. Also those who fast so that men may Honour them lose the reward they should have gotten. In fact, those who seek to impress others with their sad countenance and disfigured face are in a more pitiable condition because they just denied their stomach food for nothing.
So when You fast, anoint Your Head, Wash Your face, brush Your teeth, comb Your Hair, Look good!!!! Don’t go around Looking gloomy. Give no room for people suspecting that You are fasting. Be like Jesus who was always lively, eating and drinking to the extent that they called Him a glutton and winebibber who never fasted(Matt 11:19) because He never appeared to be fasting to them. If we continue in secret fasting, we can be sure that the Lord will always reward openly. Those whom the Lord Honours openly are men and women who have spent time in the secret place with God alone. They were people who never sought to impress others with their spirituality. They are men who have entered into the Holiest of All where only God dwells. This is the Lord’s instruction each time we choose to fast.
Dear Friend, there is a reward for those who fast, are you interested in it? There are benefits in Fasting, Do you want to be a partakers of it? If Yes, then Keep Your fast secret as far as it depends on you. Don’t ever give an impression to others that you are fasting. It is better to eat and drink to the Glory of God than to deny yourself Food for the Honour of Men. Don’t make your fasting habit a Law to others, give others freedom so that they can do it in secret. Take heed, lest your fasting which is good because corrupt because you sought-after Honour from Men. Take heed lest You lose your reward for all Your Religious activity because it was done with the wrong motives. May the Lord give us Grace to cleanse ourselves from every Hypocritical behaviours.(Amen). God bless you. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus
Seeking Honour in Fasting!!!