Matthew 6:16-18 – Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Jesus points out the incorrect manner of the discipline of fasting. Fasting can be an example of Pharisaic “righteousness.” You see, the Pharisees loved to fast so that others would see them and think them spiritual. Fasting was meant to emphasize the denial of the flesh, but the Pharisees were glorifying their flesh by drawing attention to themselves. The Lord’s words emphasized once again that such actions should be done in private before an all seeing God. As a result, God alone would know and would reward accordingly. The Pharisees fasted every Monday and Thursday. You could always tell when they were fasting because they went around with long faces, drawn cheeks, unbrushed teeth, and unkept hair. Jesus said when you fast, comb your hair, wash your face, brush your teeth, and don’t let people know you are fasting. Your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Fasting is an important discipline often neglected by many Christians.
It has been discovered that when there is no food in the stomach, there is greater blood flow to the brain. You can actually think clearer when you’re not digesting food. Once you overcome those first cravings of hunger, your thinking processes are more focused and clearer than ever. Is there something specifically you are asking the Lord to show you greater clarity on or clear direction for? Have you ever considered adding fasting to your prayers so that you may hear Gods voice more clearly? Your challenge this week is to consider setting aside a meal or two, or more, each day and pray for His will for your situation. This past Sunday I invited our church body for the next 21 days to corporately fast one meal each day and pray that God would show favor as we plan to put a church home on our property. God is true to His word and He says He will reward us with His answer if we are faithful to follow after Him. Perhaps the breakthrough you need is just a prayer away as you honor the Lord by fasting and seeking His heart for your life. You can expect great things from God when you do exactly as He instructs you in His word. What are you expecting God to do for you? May God bless you.