MATTHEW 6:25_Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Raiment is translated as clothing or apparel or garments. Meat in this verse represents any kind of food.
When you die, you won’t be packing a sack lunch. Food stays here – heavenly food will be provided for your heavenly body. Jesus’ first temptation in the wilderness was to eat when He had been called to fast. Do you recall what He said to the devil? Matthew 4:4 (KJV), “But he answered and said, ‘It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’’ This calls for the spirit to be stronger than the body. You can practice strength building for your spirit just as your body.
When you die you won’t be packing a suitcase either. The clothes stay here. You will have clothes on your body in a coffin, but the body in the coffin isn’t going anywhere either.
Again, heavenly clothes will be provided for the heavenly body. Heavenly bodies will not be dependent upon anything from the earth.
Your heavenly clothes may be full of light. How cool would that be?
Whatever you wear in heaven, I promise there will be no fashion police!
God in Heaven, Thank You my spirit can withstand difficult times. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ strengthens the spirit—He will strengthen mine!
MATTHEW 6:18_shall reward thee openly.
God will reward you openly. Trust that. Believe that. But remember, God has His own time table, and it’s a perfect one. You can also trust and believe that!
God delights in rewarding His people. Another natural byproduct of love is to give – time, money, gifts. God is the creator of all things physical and spiritual. He knows how to reward, when to reward, what to reward (behavior or actions), and the kind of reward to give.
You can trust your Heavenly Father to give rewards perfectly designed for you. They are part of the wonderful plan God has for your life. God has a plan for everyone. There are those who do not choose to accept His plan. The circumstances of life, which are beyond your control: family, race, culture, disabilities, can never prevent you from achieving His plan – if you seek it.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 (KJV),“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.”
God Who Cares, Thank You for Your plan for me. Nothing in this life can take it from me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ has a plan me—He will help me achieve it!
MATTHEW 6:18_but unto thy Father which is in secret…
You want your fast to be seen by God. A time for God to examine your heart and motives. You learn more about how to let God lead, and you follow. Your spirit grows stronger. These are the kinds of things the Father sees in secret.
Prayer, Bible study, and meditation on Scripture, are perfect condiments to fasting. This opens the door for The Big Three: Wisdom, Understanding, and Knowledge. Psalm 119:1-7 (KJV) comes alive, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. 2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. 3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. 4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. 5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! 6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. 7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.”
That’s some powerful stuff, but self-denial is a powerful act.
Fasting is by no means the only form of self-denial. Just changing the channel, or turning off the TV when something wicked shows up, can open these same doors.
Your Father sees everything that’s done in secret.
Heavenly Father, I seek You with my whole heart, I want to walk in Your ways. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ walked in the law of the LORD—He teaches me!
MATTHEW 6:18_That thou appear not unto men to fast…
We have discussed how after His baptism, Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into a time of great self-denial. Matthew 4:1-4 (KJV), “Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, ‘If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.’ 4 But he [Jesus] answered and said, ‘It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.'”
There were no people in this wilderness experience. Jesus did not have anyone to show-off His great piety for God. The devil came up with another form of temptation, since his, “See how good I am,” scheme would not work. The devil tempts Jesus to break the fast and eat. Jesus overcame the temptation because He knew the truth – “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”
Jesus understood the purpose for His fast. He was led to fast in preparation for His earthly ministry. Jesus knew He needed this set-apart time.
You may think the cross was the only sacrifice Jesus made for you – but there is so much more.
Lord God, Praise You for all the sacrifices You made for me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ gave all of Himself—He did it to love me!
MATTHEW 6:17_and wash thy face.
Maybe Jesus added this instruction just in case you did pour that bucket of oil on your head! More likely, He added it as a way of saying, “Get up and prepare for the day just as you would any day.”
Food is the source of the body’s energy. When that source is denied energy begins to deplete. When you feel tired and lack energy, the sad, disfigured face could come naturally. Whether it is natural or not, Jesus does not want you to draw attention to your fast. He wants you up and at it. Jesus wants you to receive the blessing He has in store during this time of self-denial.
Self-denial is not easy for whatever reason you are denying yourself, and certainly denying the body of its food source is no piece of cake. Hmm, that probably is not the best wording when discussing fasting. If the purpose of your fast is to be spiritually strengthened, trust that will happen. Once the fast is over, you may glean from your spiritual benefits for months to come.
Transformation is progressive. Some parts are instantaneous (like your love for Jesus), some come short term, and some transformations are a long term process. Only the One who loves and wants your very best will re-create you – so your spirit, not physical, controls your actions.
Loving Jesus, Please give me the strength when I need to deny myself. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ denied Himself—He did it to love me!