But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Why do you fast? Look closely at what Jesus is saying here, “Only your heavenly Father should know that you are fasting”. Why? Because He’s the reason we do it, and nothing else. The hypocrites He spoke of would fast to be seen by men, they did it for personal glory and benefit.
If I’m being completely honest, when the church does a corporate fast, I’ve had many reasons to do it. My primary reason is the desire to be closer to God, obedience to my leadership, and a desire for unity within the church body. But what about all my secondary reasons? “I wonder if I’ll lose weight”, “Maybe this will help me detox”, “Hopefully this will help me start eating healthier again”, the list goes on. I catch myself thinking of all the ways I can personally benefit from fasting, when I should be focused only on drawing close to my Savior.
I should be crucifying my fleshly desires, not compiling a list of ways to satisfy them. Do we truly fast only to be seen by the Father in the secret place, or do we have selfish motives hidden away in our hearts when we do so? When you set out to serve and obey God, do you secretly wonder “How will this benefit me?”
And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.