Fasting, Your Father Sees in Secret, Rewards Openly
Jesus continues His Sermon on the Mount with the 12th Topicówhich is FASTING. Yes, the word that many people shy away from, the very thought of going without food scares the strongest and biggest individuals that attend church. After all, why do we have too FAST? Is there some Divine purpose for it? Or does God just want to see me suffer to prove my faithfulness to HIM? I donít think I could FASTóI will die if I go without food for a long time? I think God is unfair! These are the many thoughts that will pop into our minds when the word FASTING is mentioned.
Whether we are sincerely driven to want to learn about it and actually apply it, or begin to rationalize why we should not do itóGod understands our weakness. We need to take a closer look at what Jesus taught about the Topic many shy away from and make all kinds of excuses.
Hi, Iím back by the mercies of OUR HEAVENLY FATHER to share what Jesus taught us on the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus taught 19 Topics in Matthew chapters 5, 6, & 7, the 12th Topic being FASTING. I love the way Jesus began teaching the Topic of FASTING, Jesus went from speaking about GIVING-to-PRAYER-then on to-FASTING. Jesus begins by saying;
16. Moreover, when you FAST, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be FASTING. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their REWARD.
17. But you, When You FAST, anoint your head and wash your face,
18. So that you do not appear to men to be FASTING, but to YOUR FATHER who is in the secret place; and YOUR FATHER WHO SEES IN SECRET WILL REWARD YOU OPENLY (Matthew 6:16-18 NKJV)
Outlining the 3 Verses
Allow me to high-light the importance of these 3 Verses we just read.
1. When You FAST- hereís a thought that will bring us comfort and clear instruction without the religious approach to the practice of FASTING. This means WHEN YOU ARE READY, WILLING, AND ABLE TO FAST. Not when I (Manuel) say it, not when your Pastor says you must FAST, or when Faith-writers tells you too. Jesus left the responsibility to FAST up to you. You make the decision to whether or not you wish to FAST.
I remember when I read Matthew Chapter 4 once again in 1992; I donít know how many times I read that chapter. But this particular time after reading it again it hit me, ďWow, Jesus FASTED for 40 days. Man, I couldnít FAST for 40 days Lord. I heard a voice in my head that said FAST for 60 days. I said, are You crazy sorry Lord, but I canít even do 1 day. I heard a voice say do 60 days only 2 meals a day the portion that one would normally eat and not a double portion. I use to eat 4 big double portion meals a day and pump iron like some warrior weighing 240lbs. I was very strong in the gym lifting hundreds of pounds.
I applied what I heard and I came down in weight to about 200lbs. after 60 days. What was God doing? Jesus was conditioning me too FAST! Jesus said WHEN YOU FAST. When you are up for it, when you decide itís the appropriate time, and when youíre not bogged down with so many tasks that needs your attention. You see, many people will try to talk you into doing things their way at their time because they feel that you are just like them, but what they donít know is the hardships and struggles you personally have, that consumes your time and energy that you need to nourish your body by eating healthy foods to keep going. Of course, this is not an excuse not to FAST but a reality check that will move you to evaluate your schedule to see WHEN YOU CAN FAST.
2. Donít be like the Hypocrites- Hypocrites look to impress other people that they are some-what-spiritual. Jesus said they disfigure their faces and walk around purposely showing that theyíre FASTING and doing Godís willing. Jesus said we are not to go around bragging or displaying a religious phony act. Jesus said their reward is Godís not considering their practice of fasting. You see, people will find out or ask questions as to why youíre not eatingóI say Iím not hungry right now.
3. We are to wash our face and anoint our heads-shower and put on the styling gel in todayís mode. We are to FAST without anybody knowing what we are doing. When we do OUR FATHER will see us in secret and rewards us openly.
What are the rewards?
Jesus didnít go into a full list of rewards because remember Jesus was primarily speaking to the Jews who had a wealth of knowledge about the Topic of FASTING from the Old Testament that He did not need to share a grocery list of rewards. However, allow me to share some of the rewards that come along with FASTING from the Old and New Testament. The rewards for FASTING are;
1. We will be shining lights in this dark world because Godís glory (GLOW) will be upon us.
2. We will be healed spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.
3. We will obtain and maintain Godís righteousness in our lives to live in a higher standard.
4. We will experience a greater glorious anointing in our lives.
5. We will have our prayers answered constantly.
6. We will receive continuous guidance by the Holy Spirit as we are sensitive to HIM.
7. We will experience satisfaction in our souls and have emotional soundness.
8. We will experience spiritual refreshing moments when we are drying up.
9. We will produce work or projects that endure for a long time.
10. We will be recognized as a restorer or one who brings things back to life.
This list of rewards for FASTING come from the book of Isaiah chapter 58:8-12 NKJV, if we practically apply FASTING with godly motives, intents, and love toward other people.
Biblical Examples of FASTING
Daniel the Prophet FASTED for several different reasons;
1. Daniel stood away from the kingís un-kosher foods as a result, heís acknowledged in Scripture for having WISDOM and KNOWLEDGE and GREAT UNDERSTANDING in DREAMS and VISIONS (Daniel 1:17 NKJV)
2. When Nebuchadnezzer had a DREAM that no one can interpret, Daniel FASTED to ask God to reveal the DREAM to him so he can interpreted to the king and survive and save all the wise-men in Babylon from perishing (Daniel Chapter 2)
3. Daniel continued to FAST especially during the Sabbath days.
4. Daniel also FASTED to seek revelation from Scripture about the time-line God had spoken about through the prophecies of the Prophet Jeremiah, to release Israel from Babylonian captivity (Daniel Chapter 10)
5. If we practically apply the reasons for FASTING as Daniel did, we would please God OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. We need to stay away from unhealthy foods, we need spiritual wisdom and understanding about DREAMS and VISIONS that God will grant us during our walk with HIM. We need to practically FAST weekly. We also need to FAST when we need further light or revelation of Scripture (especially Bible Teachers and Preachers) to bring to Godís people a Powerful Message from Heaven.
6. We need to FAST to have Supernatural Power and Authority to cast out demons. Jesusí disciples failed to minister deliverance to the little boy because of lack of PRAYER and FASTING (Matthew 17:14-21 NKJV)
7. Nehemiah heard that the walls of Israel had been broken and the city was in ruins, so he PRAYED and FASTED to seek wisdom from God and the FAVOR of God to go before the king and bring the plan before the king to restore Israelís broken walls (Nehemiah Chapter 1)
8. Hannah went to the House of the Lord year after year and she wept and did not eat (FASTING) during her yearly worship until the High-Priest Eli inquired about her condition that Eli prophesied that the Lord grant her request to have a child and Hannah became pregnant that same year (this is a Powerful reason to FAST if couples are having difficulty having a child) (1 Samuel Chapter 1 &2:1-11 NKJV).
The Power of FASTING
You see, the full blessings of God will not come into our lives, our circumstances, our problems, our turmoil, our marriage, our job, our finances, our family, and our church just by prayer alone, we need the full package of FASTING and PRAYER. There are things we will encounter as Christians that will not work by just saying a simple Prayer, or a command to an evil spirit, or by quoting a verse of Scripture with a promise against our dire circumstances. We need to roll-up our spiritual sleeves and FAST and PRAY then after we receive the spiritual green-light to proceed in the Authority of Almighty God hell will run, demons will flee and we will have the VICTORY in Jesusí name, Amen. YOUR FATHER WHO SEES IN SECRET WILL REWARD YOU OPENLY!