This week’s Scripture text:
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men 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.
In this week’s text Jesus returns to His warning the disciples about hypocrisy. He has talked about hypocrisy in giving and in prayer, and in these verses He talks about hypocrisy in fasting. Fasting is certainly not prohibited by Jesus, but He does make it clear that we must check our motives for why we fast. Each of the three examples of hypocrisy that Jesus has given in chapter 6 have been examples of different scenarios in which we come to God in a kind of “fake worship”; pretending to hunger after God when our true heart’s desire is to be seen by others as being holy or spiritual.
If Jesus took up half a chapter dealing with this issue…at the very outset of His teaching ministry, and devoted 3 distinct illustrations of it, then shouldn’t we take notice that this is something He really wants us to watch out for in our own hearts? What about you? What areas of your own heart a prone to pretend with God? What impact does that have in our relationship with God? How does it impact our service for God? And most importantly, how do we get out from underneath that kind of “performance mentality” and stop faking it with Him?
Again, let’s be prayed up and ready to hear from the Lord this Sunday.