But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who sees what is done in secret.
Matthew 6, 17f.
In the previous devotion we discussed four steps that make us humble: water baptism, confession, counseling and the Lord’s Supper. Now another area comes from this group. Today we add another aspect. What they all have in common is that they have great symbolic value. We have to humble ourselves in our minds, and often before others. God likes people who can humble themselves! HE is especially close to them.
Fasting is also blessed if we do it for His glory without boasting about it. Why should others know when we fast? Even if it is difficult and we cannot concentrate well (at least in the beginning), God makes up for our attempts and answers much prayer. We come closer to Him by crucifying our lust. This exercise is very useful for our sanctification. But a proud man cannot grasp it, and the humble man gets the blessing.
All these things require a believing, trusting, humble heart. Jesus practiced everything and He thinks we should do it too; – I wonder if He is right in this?
For a long time I led a house group and always fasted the day before, but ate just before the meeting so that I had enough energy. Saul had once won a battle against the Philistines, but he had ordered a fast, and so his troops were too weak to pursue the enemy and defeat them altogether. David found a beehive of honey and ate it, and his eyes became clear again. He pursued the enemy and won. – So I never went hungry to such meetings…
There are other ways to practice fasting. You can do without the phone or Facebook for a while. You can skip coffee, you can do without alcohol, movies, newspapers, news, all sorts of things that usually capture us and waste our time.
There are fasts to do intensive intercession. Or to underline our seriousness in a certain matter. Or we have an important question for God …..
Jesus puts a lot of blessing on fasting. But you have to try it yourself to realize this.
Thank You Jesus that You are close to me and also bless my renunciation for Your sake. You like it when we renounce something for Your sake. Thank You for seeing and loving humility and strengthening the humble. You are especially close to those who humble themselves. You are a wonderful God! We love You!