Matthew 6:16–18 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
The third way that the hypocrite practices their righteousness with false motives is when they fast. It’s a strange report to read about here, but these folks would actually mope around disfiguring their face so that it looked like they had been fasting for a much longer time then they had been. It would seem to others that the person fasting was so godly and spiritual because of the extreme devotion they appeared to have. No wonder our Lord calls them hypocrites!
Jesus then says, “but when you fast…” Jesus assumes it will be part of Christian discipline that his followers will fast. I went through a season where I would fast once a week. It has been a while since I have done so and see from our Lord’s words that it might be time to begin some level of routine again. I will take some time and seek the Lord to see what it might look like during my current season. Regardless, Jesus’ instruction for me and for you is to keep our fasting a secret. It is always about the heart!
Oh yah, and don’t forget to take the above Bible verse out of context with your kids just for fun.
“Son, Jesus commands you to wash your face!”