Matthew 6:16-18. When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Probably nothing got on Jesus ‘s nerves more than spiritual showmanship. That’s the big gripe He had with the Pharisees. They were all talk and no walk. Remember when He saw the religious guy standing in the center of the temple and praying so that everyone would see him? Jesus said, “Don’t do that.”
So, when it came to fasting, His first rule was, “Don’t be a spiritual show off.” And it’s still pretty good advice today. If arrogance and pride were spiritual gifts, many of us would be saints. Demonstrating our piety is as easy as breathing. But, as Doris’s dad used to say, “That ain’t no good.”
Here are a few no-no’s when it comes to fasting:
Don’t talk about it all the time. It’s amazing how we can work our fast into every conversation, but the God who sees in secret is not impressed.
Don’t compare your fasting to someone else’s fasting. Moses went 40 days with no food or water. Daniel just gave up aftershave lotion. Your fast is probably somewhere in between so don’t get caught up in comparing.
Don’t fast just to get something. Fasting is about opening my heart to hear what God has to say. If I am fasting for the reward well, there will be no reward.
And finally, when you fast, don’t neglect the other stuff. Prayer, Bible reading, church, all of that is still vital and fasting doesn’t give me a pass from my spiritual disciplines.
Fasting is about what God is doing on the inside, not what people are seeing on the outside. If I forget that then God says, “No blessing for you.” 🤓 And I sure want you to see my blessing. 😩