What Jesus Did! 'The Hidden Fast' — Matthew 6:16-18

Saturday, March 13, 2021

[Jesus continued:] "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."
— Matthew 6:16-18 NLT

Key Thought

We do not pursue the spiritual disciplines to gain us notoriety and respect. Spiritual disciplines are of value when we offer them to God and go about our daily routine as if nothing were different, except our character. Our character is to be transformed to be more like our Father in heaven. A fast to God is not about looking on the outside like we're fasting, but about being transformed on the inside. That transformation will show itself over time as the fasting brings its spiritual fruit.

Today's Prayer

Loving Father, I recognize that every good thing I have comes from you. Thank you for being so generous. I especially enjoy the food you provide for me each day. As I fast, please help me to base that fasting in the thankfulness for all you have done for me and please use it to form in me more of your character than I had yesterday. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Isaiah 58:6-9
  • Mark 2:19-20
  • Acts 13:2-3


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Illustration of 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.

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.