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

Monday, March 13, 2017

"When you fast, don't make yourselves look sad. The hypocrites do that. Don't be like the hypocrites. They make their faces look strange to show people that they are fasting. I tell you the truth, those hypocrites already have their full reward. So when you fast, make yourself look nice. Wash your face. Then people will not know that you are fasting. But your Father that you cannot see will see you. Your Father sees the things that are done in secret. And he will reward you."
— Matthew 6:16-18 NLT
Illustration of Matthew 6:16-18 NLT —  Then people will not know that you are fasting.

Key Thought

We do not pursue the spiritual disciplines to gain us notoriety and respect. They 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 like we're fasting on the outside, but that we're being transformed on the inside. That transformation will show itself over time, and in the meantime, the fruit of fasting will be its own reward.

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


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.

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.