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A Hunger to Please God (20 of 26)
Series: Kingdom Life
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 (vv. 17-18).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that we who profess to be his followers are to be different. Jesus warns, ''Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven'' (v. 1). The word ''righteousness'' (v.1) refers to religious acts, such as giving to the needy (vv. 2-4), prayer (vv. 5-15), and fasting (vv. 16-18).
We must not have the wrong motivation (i.e., the motive of impressing others) when we do reli-gious things. Again, we are to be different: ''But when you give to the needy'' (v. 3), ''But when you pray'' (v. 6), ''But when you fast'' (v. 17).
[Read Matthew 6:1-18.]
WHAT IF NOBODY WAS WATCHING?
Would your life change if nobody was watching? For example, if nobody was watching, would what you buy change? It's been said, ''We buy things we don't need with money we don't have to impress people we don't like.''
DO YOU HAVE A HUNGER TO PLEASE GOD?
Sometimes we can have a greater desire to please others than to please God. (When we do something good, there's something within us that wants others to notice what we've done.) How can we know if we really have a hunger to please God?
We can know if we really have a hunger to please God if we would still do what we do if there was NOBODY TO IMPRESS.
The gospel should give us a hunger to please God. ''We love [which includes pleasing God by our obedience to him] because he first loved us'' (1 John 4:19). ''He did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all'' (Rom. 8:32). Our love for God is a response to his love for us.
FASTING IN SCRIPTURE
Basically, fasting is '' ...
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