April 16 - Matthew 6:16-18

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 16 - Matthew 6:16-18

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

I don’t know about your household, but mine (as the family of a pastor) went through several different attempts at holiness and sometimes those involved fasting.  Now, my parents did not insist that the three of us kids fast with them, even though there might have been pointed comments sent our way, but let me tell you; whenever there was a fast coming, we got worried.

It was never pleasant.  And whoever was doing the fasting wasn't terribly happy or pleasant about it, especially by the third or fourth day.  Downright mean and ugly would be words which described them.  The rest of us simply prayed they would find their holiness as quickly as possible and get normal again.

I might have tried quoting this passage to my mother once in the middle of a particularly long fasting period. I might have found myself doing a lot of extra laundry and dishes as punishment for my behavior.

Jesus calls us to a type of holiness that becomes organic to who we are, not something that we bring out and dress up when we get in front of others.  When you fast, do it in private and don’t tell the world.  If you tell the world about it – that’s your reward.  But, when you do it so that no one knows about it except you and God – He will reward you.