Today, we will look at the last of three areas that we do not want to be a hypocrite in and show off if we do not want to lose our heavenly reward.
DON’T SHOW OFF IN YOUR ABSTAINING
Mat 6:16-18 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (17) But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; (18) That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
Here, Jesus is saying when you fast, don’t do it for a show and a pat on the back. If you do, that will be your reward, and what a waste it would be.
During Jesus’ day when the scribes and Pharisees fasted, they would:
- Disfigure their faces and put on a sad countenance.
- They would mark their faces with superficial coloring to look like they had been fasting for a long time and lost weight.
The right kind of fasting is needed today, just as much as prayer is: Mat 17:14-21 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, (15) Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. (16) And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. (17) Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. (18) And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. (19) Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? (20) And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (21) Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
How much have we missed out because we are not willing to sacrifice and fast? This is something I myself need work in. When is the last time you were so desirous to see a prayer answered that you fasted? When was the last time you wanted to grow closer to the Lord and were willing to sacrifice to do so?
Two things to remember about fasting First, have a specific reason to fast. Don’t get so busy that you skip breakfast and at lunch decide – “Well, I might as well fast.” Some of us might do well to do a fast for physical reasons, but if it is to be a spiritual fast you need to have a spiritual purpose.
Secondly, do nothing externally to draw attention to your fasting. While there are some Bible examples of public fast proclaimed, you would do better to not even tell anyone if it is for personal spiritual gain. What a shame to spend time fasting, just to lose the reward because you want others know about your sacrifice. People may find out you are doing a fast, but don’t let them finding out about it to be your motive.
When it comes to Alms – Asking – Abstaining –are you doing them, and how are your motives?