Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
SECRET #26: The follower of Jesus has a private focus when fasting. Here’s how Jesus said it: “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:16-18)
Fasting is the 3rd illustration of the abuse of practicing righteous acts that were meant to be before God only. We have seen giving, praying and now FASTING. He is saying that “when you fast”, don’t mope around with a long face, looking disheveled in order to show off the fact that you are fasting before the Lord.
FASTING is not simply nor necessarily to abstain from food, but from anything that hinders your communion with God. Fasting is the ultimate in practicing the principle of private focus. It’s a discipline of removing all things that take your attention away from the Lord. We tend to spend most of our time talking to God in prayer and not listening. Fasting is a great way to force your self to be quiet enough and focused enough to really listen to what the Lord wants to communicate to you at the deepest levels.
Practice the principle of private focus: #1-Resist the temptation to go public! It’s just not that important. #2-Remember the tortoise & the hare! Faithfulness means successfulness, living life long-term.
#3-Recruit God as your team-member! It is said that if you want to win the high jump, you want to find one person who can jump 7 feet not 7 people who can jump 1 foot. When you practice private focus, these three righteous acts (giving-praying-fasting) must be done in secret. Then God will reward you openly.
#4-Reserve time alone-just you & God! Taking the time to focus on God and your heart before Him-read, pray, contemplate-take the time for fasting. We are urged, “Be still and know that I am God.”
God wants to enlighten, empower, encompass, & encounter you! He will do these things as you meet Him through fasting. You must practice the presence of God! And when you practice the presence of God, you’ll know where He is at all times. And when you know where God is, then you’ll know where you stand.
Throughout Jesus’ teaching he is encouraging you and me to get our support from God and relate to him in a quiet, personal way. You see, in most cases believers operate in such a way that they have no invisible means of support. God wants to be that invisible means of support-invisible, yet very real and empowering.