“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
Yesterday, we began talking about the spiritual discipline of fasting. We talked about how Jesus modeled fasting for us and how incredible it can be to spend special time in prayer through fasting. Today, I want us to look at another thing we should do when it comes to fasting.
The second thing to keep in mind when fasting is that we should understand the purpose of fasting. And thankfully, we can find that information very clearly in Scripture. The purpose of the fast is not to call attention to yourself. It is rather to put your attention on God.
If you are not fasting for the right purpose, you may as well not fast. The goal of fasting is to contemplate God and to concentrate on a spiritual matter. Put simply, fasting forces focus on the Father.
The purpose of fasting is always spiritual. It is not to lose weight. It is not to try and kick a sugar habit. It is not to make yourself feel better. The purpose of fasting is to force us to remember and realize just how dependent on God we really are. My hope is that you will take hold of that purpose as you practice fasting in your own life.
Dear God, thank you for the clear purpose of fasting that we can find in Scripture. I pray that you would give me humility as I fast, not calling attention to myself, but rather putting my attention on you. In Jesus’ name, amen.