The issue of motive was at the heart of Jesus’ first words on fasting. We see this in Matthew, chapter six. Jesus said, “But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you” (Matthew 6:17–18, NLT).
So, is Jesus saying that no one should ever know you are fasting? The short answer is no, but the fact of the matter is a spiritual activity, like fasting, can become an attempt to seek the admiration and applause of people. Jesus understood this pitfall and wanted us to avoid it. Instead of worrying about others, our focus should be on seeking the God who knows our hearts.
John Wesley declared, “First, let [fasting] be done unto the Lord with our eye singly fixed on him. Let our intention herein be this, and this alone, to glorify our Father which is in heaven.” The kind of fasting that God honors is about putting our focus on Him. And when we do that, Jesus promises that God will see what others cannot and reward it!
As we continue in our 21 days of prayer and fasting, continue to make God’s attention your aim and be encouraged that He is going to reward you as a result of this season!
Matthew 6:16–18 NLT
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
2 Corinthians 5:9 ESV
So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
Galatians 1:10 NLT
Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.