But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men 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. (NIV) Matthew 6:17-18
As with prayer and giving, Jesus assumed that His disciples would fast (the denying of food and sometimes drink for a period of time for specific spiritual reasons). Jesus said that the purpose of fasting is not to draw attention to ourselves. And it’s not to gain a holier than thou reputation for ourselves. Instead fasting builds on self-discipline, and is an expression of humility before God. The Pharisees had turned fasting into an event that turned the attention to them and brought accolades from man. But, that was their only reward.
Whose eyes do you hope will see your actions? your spouse’s eyes? your boss’ eyes? your teacher’s eyes? your minister’s eyes? your children’s eyes? your peer’s eyes? your subordinate’s eyes? your coach’s eyes? your parent’s eyes? Who are you trying to please with how you live your life?
How would you run your race of faith, if you knew that only Jesus would see anything you did? Remember, ultimately there’s only One person we are trying to please. . . God.