Matthew 6:16-23 NASB
¹⁶Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
¹⁷But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face ¹⁸so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
¹⁹Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. ²⁰But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; ²¹for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
²²The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. ²³But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
The service of God is not something outwardly, but a matter of the heart.
It can be very desirable to fast in certain situations.
We often read about it in the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments (See, among others, Esther 4:15-17; Acts 13:2-5).
In most cases it was a matter of turning to God with an urgent prayer for a specific purpose (Compare Isaiah 58:4).
But the Pharisees in Jesus’ day made a show of fasting.
▪︎ They put on a sad face to show how much they grieved for their sins.
▪︎ They did not wash, and sprinkled themselves with ashes (cf. Isaiah 58:5).
And all this just to gain appreciation from the people.
But they could not deceive God…
Jesus says, “Fasting, like charity and prayer, should be done in secret. From the heart. Then it makes sense. And the Father will reward it” (Matthew 6:16-18).
The honor that the Pharisees thought they would get with their hypocrisy is in a sense also part of the treasures to which they were attached in this life.
▪︎ And what about us?
▪︎ Does God come first in our lives?
▪︎ Or do we find other things more important?
Our position maybe, our family or our house, our hobbies…
If our hearts are only set on the things of this life, we are on the wrong track. You can’t be sure of anything and with death you lose everything (Luke 12:13-21; 1 Timothy 6:7).
Whoever wants real joy and security for now and in the future must set his heart on Him who dwells in heaven: the LORD. Who there keeps for us our treasures: eternal life and everlasting glory with Jesus our Savior and Lord (Matthew 6:19-21).
Jesus makes it clear with an image (Matthew 6:22,23).
What our eye is to our body, our heart is to our spiritual life.
▪︎ If our eye is healthy, there is light and our body can function properly.
▪︎ When our hearts are set on Jesus, we live in His light (John 8:12, 12:46).
If not, we live in darkness spiritually. That is much worse than missing temporary earthly possessions.
Are you already living in the light of Jesus?
▪︎ How are you addressed by what verse 21 says?
▪︎ Thank the Lord Jesus that He warns you about spiritual dangers.
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