I didn’t think this was a big deal, but the bible tells us to keep our fasts secret. I actually think it is better to break the fast to keep the secret that to lose the secret and break the fast. The passage is pretty clear, when we reveal the secret we spoil the fast! Our clear direction is not the reveal it to anyone.
NLT Matt 6;15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. 16 “And when you fast , don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. 17 But when you fast , comb your hair and wash your face. 18 Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
I used to think it was Ok to let the wife in on the fast, but am now convinced that this verse means what it says – no one!
I don’t think it is good to use the ‘tummy trouble’ excuse either. Any trail of lies has great potential to cause trouble. I recommend just eating enough to avoid suspicion, but still not allowing any snacks or even dessert. If that brings up questions, you can decide if saying “I’m trying to lose a few pounds, or just eating a little is a more appropriate response.
Remember, the goal of the fast is to take our eyes off the world and focus them better on Jesus. I leave you with an old journal about keeping our fasts on track.
Fast only for justice, fairness, freeing the oppressed & canceling debts.
MSG Isaiah 58;1-9
Your Prayers Won’t Get Off the Ground
1″Shout! A full-throated shout! Hold nothing back–a trumpet-blast shout! Tell my people what’s wrong with their lives, face my family Jacob with their sins!
2They’re busy, busy, busy at worship, and love studying all about me.
To all appearances they’re a nation of right-living people–law-abiding, God-honoring.They ask me, “What’s the right thing to do?’ and love having me on their side.
3But they also complain, “Why do we fast and you don’t look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’
“Well, here’s why:
“The bottom line on your “fast days’ is profit. You drive your employees much too hard.
4You fast, but at the same time you bicker and fight. You fast, but you swing a mean fist.
The kind of fasting you do won’t get your prayers off the ground.
5Do you think this is the kind of fast day I’m after:
a day to show off humility? To put on a pious long face and parade around solemnly in black?
Do you call that fasting, a fast day that I, GOD, would like?
6″This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice, get rid of exploitation in the workplace, free the oppressed, cancel debts.
7What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry, inviting the homeless poor into your homes, putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad, being available to your own families.
8Do this and the lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once. Your righteousness will pave your way. The GOD of glory will secure your passage.
9Then when you pray, GOD will answer.
You’ll call out for help and I’ll say, “Here I am.’ “If you get rid of unfair practices, quit blaming victims, quit gossiping about other people’s sins,
The peoples fasts were not recognized by God because;
1. Their “fast days’ were for profit.
2. They drove their employees much too hard.
3. They bickered and fought, ‘swinging a mean fist’.
God wants us to fast;
1. To break the chains of injustice,
2. To get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
3. To free the oppressed & cancel debts.
1. share our food with the hungry,
2. invite the homeless poor into your homes,
3. cloth the shivering ill-clad,
4. are available to your own families.
Then the promise;
1. The lights will turn on, and your lives will turn around at once.
2. We’ll see our way with the light of righteousness
3. GOD will secure our passage.
4. Then, GOD will answer our prayers
5. Our calls for help will be heard
The selfish, or mean spirited fast is futile. We are to fast for justice, fairness, freeing the oppressed & cancelling debts.
We claim your promise to answer our prayers, and reward our fasts, to light our path & to turn us around as we care for the hungry, the homeless, the poor, and do our part at home. Remind us never to fast for profit, and guide our fasts for justice, fairness, freeing the oppressed & canceling debts. Amen.