3/21/15 Why Do You Fast?

“The Pharisees fast regularly, on the 2nd and 5th days of the week, as well as on holidays where the law of Moses tells us to fast.  They say that they fast on the 2nd and 5th days of the week to commemorate the day that Moses went up Mt. Sinai (on the 5th day of the week) and the day that he returned (on the 2nd day of the following week.)  But these are also market days, the days of the week when everyone is out at the marketplace to buy and sell.  And on those fast days, the Pharisees wear their old, torn clothing, they do not shower or shave, they wear no cologne, they put dirt on their faces, and they walk around with their heads down and a sorrowful expression on their faces.  So are they truly fasting before God, showing outwardly in their appearance a deep sorrow or longing that fills their hearts?  What is in their hearts?  I tell you the truth, they do this to receive the reward of being the center of attention and admiration, and this is all the reward they will get.  Therefore, do not be like them!  When you fast, shower and shave, put on cologne, and wear clothing like you would wear on any other day.  Do not put dirt on your face or look like you’re grieving.  Do not show any outward sign that you are fasting.  Instead, make your fasting secret, something known only to yourself and your Heavenly Father.  Let the reason for your fast come from the sadness in your heart – a sin you have committed, a loved one who is sick, a loss you have suffered, any desperate longing in your heart – and a desire to lay the burden you are carrying down before the Lord and seek His guidance.  Then your Heavenly Father, who sees all that you do, will see what is in your heart and reward you for what you do in secret.”

Matthew 6:16-18


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