MATTHEW 6:16_for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast…
Any way you look at it, fasting shows up in the Bible. It appears in the Old and New Testaments as a part of the religious routine. Fasting was a normal part of worship.
There is something else which shows up. Jesus has a way of spotlighting it – hypocrisy. Hypocrites are always around. They show up in high governmental offices, on sports teams, on the stage, and unfortunately, they show up in churches.
You’ve already learned how the hypocrites’ giving alms and praying came from a heart of pride, not worship. Well, do declare, if that isn’t the same motive for their fasting!
Jesus points out they disfigure their faces when they fast. This is not for repentance or somberness of the occasion, but for exhibition. As always when He speaks of hypocrites, Jesus says not to be like them.
Religious hypocrites are great actors, and their stage is in the midst of the Christian community. They know how to manipulate the emotions of their audience. Their disfigured faces when fasting is more than feeling weak from hunger. It is to show to their audience they are making a great sacrifice for God.
Father God, I never want to be a hypocrite. I want You to be my audience. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ looks for hearts of worship—I will worship Him!
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 6:15_But if ye forgive not men their trespasses…
God’s path for life is freedom – you will never find a No Trespassing sign on God’s path. Feel free to roam, explore, and enjoy His path.
But God definitely places some No Trespassing signs. You will find them on the paths which lure from His path.
God empowered Joshua to lead His people into the Promised Land. In Joshua 1:7 (KJV), God says, “Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.” There is an obvious plan here. You will need strength and courage to stay on God’s path. Do not stray – at all.
Moses was called to continue Abraham’s job. Joshua was called to continue Moses’ job. A new country for God’s people – designed by God, and for God. There were to be no other gods, no other laws, no other forms of worship – God’s only. To allow anything apart from God’s design was to stray.
When you set up a life designed by you and for you – you’ve strayed. You have decided straying a little to the right or left is not really a bad thing.
What becomes of God’s wanting to bless you wherever life takes you?
One True God, Thank You for Your path that causes me to be blessed. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ knows the path I should take—He will guide me!
MATTHEW 6:13_forever. Amen.
These two words at the end of the Lord ’s Prayer may seem to be insignificant, but … no way. For that matter, they may be the most powerful in the entire prayer!
Forever means without end. An ongoing kingdom with ongoing power and ongoing glory. Nothing can stop forever – not even death! Forever is continual. There are no gaps in forever. Forever is security. Forever can never fail.
Amen is translated as let it be or it shall be. That’s how prayers should end. I have worshiped You. I have thanked You. I have laid all my needs before You. Now, let it be.
Amen can also add an exclamation for a profound word of truth – Amen! II Corinthians 1:19-20 (KJV), “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.”
In Jesus, is God’s yes. Jesus was God’s promises in the flesh. Now He is those promises in the spirit. He is also God’s final Amen, which glorifies God and all His works. Revelation 3:14 (KJV), “… These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.“
Amen is one of Jesus’ names!
Faithful God, In You is yes to all of Your promises. You are the Amen. The finishing work of God’s glory. Praise Your name! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is the Amen—I praise Him!
MATTHEW 6:13_and the glory…
What is glory anyway? Merriam Webster defines it as worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving; resplendence and magnificence. That’s the Lord God!
God uses His authority and control for good – to give love and mercy to creation. We’ve already read I John 4:17 (KJV). It needs to be repeated along with verse 16. “16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.”
God’s love can dwell in me! I can stand bold on Judgment Day. I stand bold because the power of God’s love worked within me in this life. I don’t have to wait for eternity to love like God – I can do it now. God gives me the ability to share in His glory.
God’s love shining through me gives light to my surroundings. Because it is God’s love, it shines from me with resplendence and magnificence! That blows me away!
The kingdom, and the power, and the glory belong to the Holy God of Heaven. He wants to place it inside my heart. How can I turn that down?!
Resplendent God, I praise Your glory! I worship You and all Your glory. I truly stand amazed in Your presence! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ is Glory—I want His glory in my life!