Jan 16

A Perfect Reward

2008 at 3:14 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under The FAM Club

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18

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There are three crucial points about fasting to glean from this verse: 1) The wrong way to fast, 2) The right way to fast, and 3) What to expect when you fast.

Here’s how not to fast:

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

“In other words, if the reward you aim at in fasting is the admiration of others, that is what you will get, and that will be all you get.” John Piper

We’re to do it this way instead:

“But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

“God sees us fasting. He sees that…we have come to him out of weakness to express our need and our great longing that he would manifest himself more fully in our lives [or in the life of our family member!] And when God sees this, he responds. He acts. He rewards.” John Piper

And finally, we should expect a reward:

“And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

“God will bless a biblical fast by any of His children. And whether or not you receive the blessing you hope for, one thing is sure: If you knew what God knew, you would give yourself the identical blessing that He does. And none of His rewards is worthless.” Donald Whitney

It is not more spiritual or godly to expect nothing when we fast; to view fasting as merely an exercise in self-denial. No, we should eagerly anticipate the reward. God has told us that He will reward our fasting precisely because he wants us to be on the lookout for His blessing. True, it may not come in the way we expected. But it will come. And it will be good. That’s for sure.