Fasting Devotional Day Eleven: Wednesday, January 12, 2022 Text: Matthew 6:17-18
By Steve Christopherson
17 “But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 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.”
Jesus is teaching his disciples and a crowd as he brings the sermon on the mount. The first thing you need to know is that this can easily be called the “but” chapter of the Bible. Read that the right way! Please don’t get that confused or you will miss the point! The word “but” is used in this chapter so much because Jesus is comparing what others, including the Pharisees, to what true followers should do. As you read the chapter, notice the many times He uses the word “but.” You see, we are SUPPOSED to be different from the world. We are supposed to do things differently than the world. In these two verses Jesus talks about fasting. He does not speak with the word, “if.” He uses the word “when.” WHEN you fast.... It’s not an option; it’s an expectation! Options are for non-followers. YOU are a follower of Christ, and He EXPECTS you to fast! And His instructions are to fast without advertising it to everyone, so they see you being all holier-than- thou. That would be your reward. He says BUT when you fast, take care of yourself and don’t flaunt it as you are being holy but rather do it in secret. Well now, if you do it in secret, others will not know it BUT God will! That should feel good BUT it should also let you realize that God actually sees you in secret! He knows what you do, think, feel, and say! He knows your heart!
So, as you fast during this time, be mindful of His presence in your fast and honor Him with good intentions in your heart. Simply put, I would rather be on the right side of the “but” rather than the wrong side of, “Depart from me. I never knew you!”