Practical Proverbial, from Matthew, 22 May 2023. Today’s topic: Fasting Show

 “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.  Matthew 6:16

People can spot a phony; we’ve talked about this before.   The fact is that any of us, me and you included, have phony moments.   We fake remorse; we fake tears; we fake happiness, or laughing, or sympathy, or whatever.   We.  Fake.  It’s easy to do where fasting (not eating) is concerned.  In fact, Zechariah called out all the people when he prophesied (from God), “Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted?’”

So, again, do we fake it when we fast?  Confession time:  I haven’t fasted.  I’ve violated this command.  Leviticus outlines observances when the LORD commanded that people fast as a way to honor and focus on Him.   Yet their fasting wasn’t always earnest, or honest.  They made a show of it to focus on themselves.  The dirty secret is that this became the norm in all things, not just fasting.   Why?   Got skin, got sin.

Enter Jesus, who had skin but no sin.   He fasted.   He was a devout Jew who perfectly kept all His Father’s commands.   He observed the required fasts; he did much more than that.   Recall His temptation in the desert, when he went FORTY DAYS without eating.   THAT is fasting!   He did it so that His mind and heart could synch clearly to focus on God.  When He was out there, hungry and lonely, do you think He occasionally thought about food?  About His stomach growling?   And how would Jesus have looked at the end of it?   He probably looked weak, gaunt, even starving; after all,  Jesus wasn’t immune to the physical effects of food deprivation.  Yet He would have looked genuine; He would have had nothing to hide or any reason to put up a false front.

Today, fasting is a popular, effective way to lose weight.   People will deprive themselves for 12-20 hours a day so that their bodies metabolize fat.   Let’s be honest:   that’s not a bad thing.   What do most people do when they do this?   You guessed it:  social media.  “Hey, this is (whoever) and I’m on hour 11 of my 15 hour fast.  It’s so tough!”  Genuine?   Maybe.   But let’s keep it real (and social):   some of it is for show.  Maybe most of it.  That isn’t how Jesus tells us to fast.

Instead, we are to follow His example:  fast to honor God.  When we do, it’s ok to let hunger show, but be honest.   Fast to focus on Him, not on the man in the mirror.

For more reading:  Leviticus 16:29-31, Leviticus 23:27-32, Numbers 29:7, Isaiah 58:5, Zechariah 7:5, Zechariah 8:19, Luke 4:2, Matthew 6:17

Father, teach me to fast to honor You.

Published by aspiringwriterdt

It's about's about the life He gives's about going day by's about you. It's not about me.

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