By Pastor Bobby Schuller
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly, I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
It is a major problem when we do things to prove something spiritually to others, whether it be by fasting, helping our neighbor, giving to the poor, meeting charitable needs, praying, worshipping, or going to church. I might even add that when we do those things to prove something spiritually to ourselves, we have totally missed the point of the gospel.
Fasting and any other spiritual discipline cannot be about trying to get people to like and accept you more. It cannot even be about you trying to like and accept yourself more. We must learn what grace is. Grace means the unmerited favor and love of God – the ferocious, undying love that God has for you, no matter what you do, just as you are. That’s Christianity.
When we go to a place of fasting or a place of prayer, it’s not for spiritual kudos, it’s not to say, “Look how religious and Christian I am.” It’s to eat of the goodness of God.
Prayer: Dear Lord, when worshipping you in any way, I want it only to be for you, alone. I don’t need to do any spiritual thing to gain your approval. I appreciate your grace, forgiveness, and acceptance every single day. Amen.
Reflection: When do you most feel God’s acceptance of you just as you are?