Matthew 6:17 NASB
But you, when you fast,
anoint your head and wash your face
Members of the churches formed after the Reformation generally do not know fasting anymore.
It was one of the cornerstones of the Roman Catholic tradition, and was seen as a means of pleasing the Lord, and receiving His grace.
As such, we have distanced ourselves from it.
Yet in such things we sometimes run the risk of going too far, for fear of the Roman leaven.
Fasting is essentially a biblical thing.
It was also common in the days of the Lord Jesus.
But just as it degenerated with Rome, so it was with and through the Pharisees. They made a big show of it. They did it in such a way, that everybody could notice it. While fasting, they disfigured their faces, scattered ashes on their heads, and performed all kinds of ablutions.
And thus the Lord Jesus does not say that we should not fast, but that we should do it in such a way that it is a strictly personal matter and other people do not notice about us.
On the contrary, we must show a cheerful countenance.
True godliness is not in the outward appearance, but in the inward disposition of the heart.
And if that godliness be our portion, then we even will bear our sicknesses too with a cheerful countenance.
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