Jesus gives us the first principle of fasting: Never do it for show

When You Fast

Scripture Reading:  Matthew 6:16-18

Key Verse: Matthew 6:16

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.

In these next few days we are going to study the biblical instructions on fasting.  For those who followed Christ in the New Testament days, it was a common and expected spiritual discipline.  As Jesus taught them, He used the word when, not if.  Jesus Himself practiced the discipline of fasting.  Anyone who wants to be an authentic Christ follower must include this discipline in their lives.

          As we study fasting we will see that it has many forms.  Throughout the Old and New Testaments we will see that God’s people fasted for various reasons and in various ways.  In other words, we all should include a method of fasting in our lives, but we should never get legalistic about a particular method of fasting.

          In our scripture for today Jesus is giving us the first principle of fasting in our study: Never do it for show!  The leaders of Judaism had turned fasting into a symbol of how great they were in the hierarchy of the Jewish faith.  These leaders would powder their faces in order to look pale with hunger, wanting everyone to notice them in the midst of a fast.  Jesus told His followers to fast in secret and then their heavenly Father would reward them.  Our fasting, in whatever form it may take, is to be between us and our Father in heaven.

Father, I desire an intimate relationship with you!  I want to be used of you to build your kingdom.  I’ll fast to align myself with your will!  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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