“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do … But when you fast, [do it] 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
Jesus warns his disciples against making public displays of giving, prayer, and fasting in order to obtain glory for ourselves. Rather, we should seek to bring God glory. When we do, he will reward us.
Spiritual fasting (privately) stands in stark contrast to fame, which wants instant gratification. Fame wants to be recognized, admired, esteemed. Fasting, on the other hand, is slow and does not gratify the flesh.
But fasting can be a powerful means by which we can draw closer to God, improving our relationship with him, and growing spiritually to become more like his Son.
As my pastor, John, says, “Fasting is not about fame. It is about faith. It leads to breakthrough.”
Fasting is an exercise in faith which builds up our faith and can accomplish much for his glory.
Jesus is our model.
Before he began his ministry, Jesus fasted for forty days. And he was hungry. (Matthew 4:1-11.) Satan tempted Jesus three times. With each temptation, Jesus rejected the instant gratification that Satan offered, relying instead on the power of faith and God’s Word to withstand temptation.
Jesus offers us a tremendous example of humility and dependence upon his Father in heaven.
When we fast, we should seek God for something bigger than ourselves. Fasting is God-oriented, not self-oriented. When we fast with this attitude, we give up our self for the glory of God.