Fast In Secret

How do you go about fasting? Do you fast from certain foods? Do you fast from eating entirely for a day or two? Do you fast from specific activities? Do you fast at all? Do you know that fasting is expected of you by God? Will you meet God’s expectation?

Today is Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. During Lent, many people will fast in one form or another. Some fast from meat on Friday. Others fast from chocolate for the entire forty days of Lent. Still others will fast from social media for these next forty days.

Over the years, we have devised many ways to fast and many things to fast from. During the first century, fasting generally meant fasting from eating. Every example we see in the Bible is that type of fasting. Jesus fasted (did not eat food) for forty days while in the wilderness. We are told He was famished afterward (Matthew 4:1).

Evidently, there were people during the first century who fasted and wanted everyone to know it. As we are told in Matthew 6:16, they would walk around looking miserable, downcast, or even disfigure themselves. They let it be known outwardly to everyone they encountered they were fasting. They wanted the attention and wanted people to believe they were being pious.

Jesus tells us not to do that. He says to look clean, refreshed, ready to go. We are not to draw attention to ourselves when we fast. We are to appear to others just as we do every other day. We are not to tell others we are fasting; we are to simply do it. This is a private matter between us and God. Otherwise, there is no reward from God for we will have gotten public attention, acknowledgement, and praise for our supposed piety.

Notice that Jesus says, ‘when you fast.’ He did not say ‘if.’ Therefore, fasting is expected. As we consider fasting during Lent, may we decide also to keep our fast secret. May we make our fast a matter between us and God. May we seek to lean on God and be rewarded by him.

I pray we all decide to fast. I pray we keep our fasting a matter between God and ourselves. I pray each one of us not only fast during Lent but fast at other times throughout the year. Fast as a means of leaning on God. Fast to seek God’s will. Fast to improve your relationship with God. Fast in secret. Wait for God’s reward.

Matthew 6:17-18 “But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Published by martypressey

Marty is a Pastor, retired Marine and dedicated Christian who has taught adult Bible classes and preached for 20 years. He currently serves as pastor of 3 United Methodist Churches. He believes being well-grounded in the Scriptures is key to living a better life. He brings a layman’s viewpoint to all his classes and sermons, helping others understand how to apply Scripture to their daily lives. When he sees others understand the message of a particular passage, it brings him great joy. He has seen his faith increase exponentially over the years; fully believing God has a plan and is executing it. He feels blessed to be part of that plan.

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