Theme of the Week: Is the Christian Religion Hypocritical or Real?
Bible Verses: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18 NIV
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:2-4
Here we see Jesus is now speaking about fasting. There was an expectation in that culture that all fasting done for spiritual purposes would include prayer. Jesus wasn’t talking about the latest fad in weight loss here. It was for a spiritual purpose, so prayer played an important part.
There’s that word “when” again, implying that it was not “if” we fast but rather “when” we fast. Prayer and fasting are such important spiritual disciplines because they remind us of who God is and our incredible need for him. Fasting and prayer place our focus on him. Why is this important? Because our focus often determines whether we’re building faith or fear in our lives.
The story in Matthew 14 of Peter walking on water is such a great example of this. When Peter focused on Jesus, he was fine, but as soon as he looked at the waves around him, he began to sink. I don’t know about you, but I don’t blame Peter at all because I would have done the same thing. Sometimes I focus on the stressful storms that surround me, and I can’t help taking my attention off of Jesus. I know we all fall into this predicament at times. Life happens and seems out of control, so we try to control it. But Jesus wants us to release control back to him.
It’s why I think Jesus is saying that when you are fasting and praying, keep it secret because it’s such a personal time. It’s a needed time with just Jesus – no distractions. A time to realign my focus again and commit myself to keep my mind on him.
I don’t know if you’ve ever taken the time to fast and pray. If you have never fasted and prayed before, can I encourage you to take small steps to start? Hopefully, you can build this spiritual discipline into your life on a more regular basis.
Copyright © 2021 Impactus | Promise Keepers Canada. All rights reserved.