"Moreover when you fast,
don't be like the hypocrites,
with sad faces.
For they disfigure their faces,
that they may be seen by men to be fasting.
I tell you,
they have received their reward.
when you fast,
anoint your head, and wash your face;
so that you are not seen by men to be fasting,
but by your Father
who is in secret,
and your Father,
will reward you." MATT. 6:16-18
What is your motive for doing what you do? Do you think about God's presence when you're alone? Do you remember him when you're being tempted to make a good show with others? If your actions are for any reason other than a pure heartfelt motive, the consequences will fall short. When we act in the fullness of Jesus' love and allow ourselves to respond to what he is pressing on our hearts, concern for appearances fades away and it truly becomes about blessing others. Take the time to stop and consider: what does God want in this situation? How can I honor him in blessing others with my choices?
God, let me be more aware of your desires than my own or anyone else's. I know appearances can be deceiving, but don't let me deceive myself. Let me be true to you and to myself in everything I think and do. Thank you for your sweet Holy Spirit who walks alongside me, helping me and convicting me when I am tempted to go astray. Thank you for your wonderful presence.
"Surely he mocks the mockers, but he gives grace to the humble." ~ "Behold, you fast for strife and contention, and to strike with the fist of wickedness: you don't fast this day so as to make your voice to be heard on high. Is such the fast that I have chosen? the day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a rush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to Yahweh? 'Isn't this the fast that I have chosen: to release the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Isn't it to distribute your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor who are cast out to your house? When you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth as the morning, and your healing shall spring forth speedily; and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of Yahweh shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and Yahweh will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, "Here I am." "If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking wickedly; and if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul: then your light shall rise in darkness, and your obscurity be as the noonday; and Yahweh will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in dry places, and make strong your bones; and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters don't fail."'" ~ "For sin will not have dominion over you. For you are not under law, but under grace." ~ "Don't be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life."
Proverbs 3:34; Isaiah 58:4-11; Romans 6:14; Galatians 6:7-8