MATTHEW 6:20_But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…
When you are consumed with something it fills your life. It takes over all your space – no room for anything else.
The love of wealth is so consuming the fruits of the Spirit have no growing space. The sad thing is those fruits are what every human craves. Bondage to wealth deceives. You believe wealth can buy what will satisfy your cravings. It just can’t be done. The fruits which the Spirit produces in you cannot be bought with money.
The first three fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, and peace are the most sought after virtues in existence. The wealthiest people on the planet would give their treasure to possess those virtues. These are virtues God uses to reward salty-lit-up disciples of Jesus. People who are not disciples have a thing going with their love of money – believing eventually it will satisfy.
Acts 5:1-3 (KJV) tells a story of the bondage of wealth: “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 2 And kept back part of the price, … 3 But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why hath satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?'”
Peter said Ananias could have kept all his money. But when Ananias lied to keep from giving all, his money bondage was his destruction.
Magnificent Jesus, I want space for Your fruits to grow in my soul. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ cultivates fruit in me—I will give Him space!
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_But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head…
Jesus’ reference is not to a priestly anointing – it is more like a personal anointing. I don’t know if oil is used in this anointing. I see set-apartness with Jesus as the issue here.
When oil is used, it is used sparingly and discretely so as not to attract attention. After all, if you pour a bucket of oil on your head and walk around in public, people want to know what is going on. Be careful not to fall into the hypocrite category.
When Jesus tells you to anoint your head, He is saying, “Get serious about your spiritual life if you are fasting.” There needs to be a specific purpose for this fast. It needs to be about increasing your relationship with Jesus.
Spiritual fasts are not some extreme crash diet in order to lose weight. That is not a good idea even if the fast is not spiritual. Again, this is an adult thing. Children and youth are growing bodies. Seldom will the Holy Spirit lead them to fast.
Fasting has nothing to do with causing you to be saved, or not. Don’t worry about such things. Trust your faith to grow, and the truth of the Bible to free you.
Heavenly Father, I trust You to grow my faith and to lead me to freedom. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ calls me to be set-apart for Him—I will!
MATTHEW 6:16_Moreover when ye fast…
Another Biblical principle for times of fasting is remorse – a deep, heartfelt, sorrow for something wrong in your life. The Holy Spirit convicts your heart with guilt. When you have enough sorrow, you desire to change.
Another time for fasting is for a memorial or preparation for certain religious days or seasons. This kind of fasting is a time of serious mindedness – turning your mind away from the world to the spiritual realm of life.
Seeking God’s guidance for a certain decision or direction is another call to fast. Acts 13:2-3 (KJV) records this incident in the early Christian church, “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate [to] me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”
When Queen Esther faced a life and death situation not only concerning the Jewish nation, but her personal life as well, she called for a fast. Esther 4:16 (KJV), “Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.“
Lord God, You call me to worship and follow You, fasting or not. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ calls me to worship and follow—I will!
MATTHEW 6:16_Moreover when ye fast…
Fasting has recently gained popularity. More and more it is considered a health benefit. There are different types of fasts. Depending upon the kind of fast, some of the benefits are improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol, weight management, and heart health. These are all health issues which need attention. They are some issues you might address in adulthood, and consulted a physician.
The kind of fasting Jesus refers to in this teaching is more to benefit the spirit than the body. Health benefits for the body are still there, but that is not the purpose of the fast. Health benefits come as a byproduct of your obedience to a spiritual fast. A spiritual fast concentrates on denying the physical to strengthen the spiritual. To gain insight from the Bible, and hear the Holy Spirit’s instructions – plan to incorporate spiritual fasting into your adult life.
Unfortunately, Christians bicker over many Biblical principles, fasting is often one of them. Do not bicker or argue over the Bible – rather, love God and His people. When you are an adult, God may call you at times to fast – to deeper your relationship with Him. A deeper relationship with Jesus can only do one thing – draw you closer to living a life of freedom.
If the Holy Spirit calls you to a fast, you will know.
Holy Jesus, When I am of the age for fasting, I will know Your call. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ fasted—He may call me to as well!