“Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward” (Matthew 6:16).Text — Matthew 6:16-18
In His sermon, our Lord Jesus rebuked hypocrites and corrected several erroneous practices of those days as it is today. He warned against public shows of religion like publicizing charity to the poor and praying to attract the attention of people. He taught His followers conditions for acceptable fasting. God looks beyond our outward display. He searches our hearts and judges by the motives behind every action. (1 Samuel 16:7).
A young Christian brother fasted for 21 days to show of his prayer ability and almost died after the fasting.
The pretentious Scribes and Pharisees hid under tradition to transgress the laws of God. Their charity, prayer, and fasting were for public display. The hypocrites pay themselves ‘’their reward’’ because they attract applause from men for their fasting.
Define your purpose of fasting and ensure you really spend time praying. Fasting is not starvation. Any practice of religion that does not encourage faith and uprightness of heart will not please God. Righteousness is a factor in acceptable fasting. If you are a sinner Jesus can save and transform you today.
God looks beyond our outward display
Holiness precedes profitable fasting and prayer.
Prayer for today
O God, save me from vanity of religious activities.