Day 7: In Secret
Scripture: Matthew 6:16-18
Does everyone know you’re fasting—because you’ve whined to them about it a bunch of times? It reminds me of this joke I heard: How do you know if one of your friends is a vegan?
Don’t worry—they’ll tell you.
Seriously, most of my friends who are passionate about diet or lifestyle like being a vegan are really free with telling everyone about it. I’m not sure if they’re bragging, want converts, or both, but whatever it is, they’re rarely silent.
You might think we’re supposed to be the same way with fasting, but in today’s reading, Jesus is going to tell us the opposite—that we’re supposed to keep fasting on the down low, just between us and the Lord and not wear it on our face.
So does this mean we can’t post it to social media? Not necessarily, especially if you are doing it as a group, with friends, or corporately as a church.
Here’s what Jesus was getting at. The religious elite of Jesus’ day liked to show off. They made a very nice show of themselves, all holy and fasting. “Oh, look,” you’d say, “he’s such a holy guy because he’s so miserable.”
But Jesus condemned the type of fasting that seeks favor with God and others through a pious display of outward religion. In contrast, Jesus taught that what’s really important is the unseen work God is doing in our hearts. Jesus was teaching that it’s not about what we do on the outside that counts—but what He’s doing on the inside.
Want some room for Him to work? You’ve got to MAKE IT. Fasting is how we make space for Him in our lives, and instead of being about showing others how spiritual we are, it’s all about the changes God is making on the inside of us while we spend time with Him.
This is true of every spiritual practice—reading our Bibles, prayer, and all the other disciplines. If you’re just doing them so your “good Christian” mask looks better, you’re missing the point.
It’s not a show but a grow. Fasting isn’t about how much we show, it’s about how much we grow. If you’re posting to help someone else grow by encouraging them, more power to you. If not, keep it between you and God—and watch what He does in the secret place.