Fasting Without Looking the Part
In Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus says that if you are fasting, you should not let your outward appearance indicate that you are fasting. You shouldn’t let others know that you are “suffering” by fasting in order to gain their approval or in order for them to think that you are “spiritual”. Don’t offer to take someone out to lunch and after they order you refuse to order by saying, “I’m fasting to get close to God today”. That would be awkward.
TRUE CONFESSION: I’m not really a great person to talk about fasting. It is a spiritual discipline that I willingly admit that I practice far too infrequently. Yet, though I don’t do it as I ought, I do understand that fasting is intended to develop and nurture the relationship that the “fastee” has with his God. It is not intended to impress anyone. Jesus uses the word “reward” two times in these verses.
The reward of fasting, outside of maybe dropping a pound or two, is from God. When we demonstrate to ourselves that our relationship with God is more important than breakfast, lunch and dinner, God rewards us. Fasting is never for human reward or, pardon the pun, human “consumption”. As God leads you to fast, that is primarily between you and God.
By the way, don’t ask me if I’ve increased my fasting discipline lately. You won’t like the answer and I know I won’t like the question!