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Bro. Dan Carandang   /   Jun 21, 2015

God desires and rewards fasting with the right heart. Fasting is voluntarily setting aside food so that you can replace those times of meals in spending time with God more. People fast for various reasons but before you fast you must be aligned to God’s purpose in your life. Two principles we need to understand to fast with the right heart.

1.     God rejects hypocritical fasting.

Matthew 6:16 says, “Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.”

The Israelites were expected to fast once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). Instead, the Pharisees fasted twice a week in a very public way. The Pharisees would put ashes on their faces so that everyone noticed them. This is an example of a rejected and powerless fasting. They thought God would be so impressed by their efforts that He would grant their requests. Although they did get the admiration of the onlookers, but that was it.

Fasting is not to make people think we are holy or closer to God. Jesus was contrasting the Pharisees' hypocritical practices with the genuine spiritual responses He desired of His disciples. The Lord was worried that the wrong example of the Pharisees would mislead His children. Jesus remarked that through the Pharisees’ actions, they had received their full reward. The practice in and of itself had no spiritual value.

We have to make sure our hearts are not hypocritical. God is not after mere external ritualism. Isaiah 58:4-5 says, "Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high. ‘Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one's head like a reed, and for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the Lord?’    

2.     God desires and rewards fasting with the right heart.

Matthew 6:17-18, “But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face  so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Our words and actions reveal our heart condition. It’s important to know that God is after our hearts and not after the activity of fasting. Fasting is not about impressing people or getting their applause or attention. Before we go on a fast, we should check our hearts. A right heart is free from disobedience and shows compassion and humility with what we say to others because our lives should be about pleasing God.

Isaiah 58:6 says, "Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke?”  Fasting the right way has its reward because God shall reward us openly. How much greater is His reward than the recognition of men.

Jesus watches our hearts today as we seek God in a very special way while here on earth. As we fast, God is with us in the secret place. Remember, God hates hypocrisy, but He loves the reality of honest and willing sacrifices that come from a pure heart. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

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