We Will Use Fasting As An Example
Fasting is a spiritual rite in which there is a denial of the flesh. When we fast, we are neglecting the feeding of the flesh (whether it’s food, activity, pleasure, etc.), to take time to feed the spirit.
There are different types of fasts that you can engage in: drinking just water, keeping the liquid level of your body up, or just denying certain things for a period as you spend more time in prayer and waiting upon God.
It’s Not What You Are Fasting From, But How You Fast That Matters.
The religious leaders of Jesus’ day, the Pharisees, were known to fast at least twice a week. Although there is nothing wrong with fasting in and of itself, they made a show about fasting to make them look more spiritual than others. This is what Jesus had to say about the way the religious leaders fasted:
“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. – Matt 6:16-18
Fasting to the religious leaders consisted of looking sad and miserable so that people would think “My look at what spiritual men they are.”
Jesus And His Disciples Did Not Fast Like the Pharisees
In Mark chapter’s 1-2, we see Jesus and His disciples feasting and enjoying fellowship with one another while the Pharisees and John The Baptists disciples were fasting. Jesus explained why they were not fasting but that is an entirely different topic we will save for another day. The point here is why the Pharisees were so bothered by this in the first place.
The Pharisees were upset because they made such a big deal about fasting and now no one was paying attention to them because everyone was having a great time with Jesus. All that trouble in making themselves look so sad and passionate for God was not getting them the attention they wanted.
I think this is something that we have to be very careful about in our Christian walks. As we grow as Christians, it is easy for us to put on a show.
Don’t Put On A Show
Have you ever heard of the term God-Talker? It is a term often used for someone who can recite scripture inside and out yet does not apply it to their own lives.
Working in homeless shelters and recovery ministries for several years, I came across men and women who can recite any verse and sound super spiritual, yet they would be in and out of these recovery ministries because what they said and what they did were two different things.
It is easy for us to act super religious but is that attracting people to Jesus or is that pushing people away? Most often than not, a hypocrite is a turn-off, and most people are not going to listen to a hypocrite. I am not talking about trading in our moral behavior for worldly behavior, but I am talking about being real and genuine.
We are not perfect. We should not flaunt our imperfections, but we also don’t need to act like we don’t have any either.For Jesus, it was never about putting on a show, trying to look religious, or trying to act religious. Jesus was authentic, and He always kept it real. Click To Tweet
Jesus was Genuine
For Jesus, it was never about putting on a show, trying to look religious, or trying to act religious. Jesus was authentic, and He always kept it real.
And this is one of the characteristics that make me fall in love with Jesus over and over again.
In Romans 12:9-13, Paul gives us some practical tips on what an authentic Christian is.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Don’t say one thing and do another.
Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. In this day and age, evil and immorality are celebrated while righteousness and morality are treated as archaic and destructive to our progressive society. Be sure you are on the right side of this battle.
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love. How can you say you love your brother and sister and then turn your back on them when they are in need. Put others first.
Be diligent & fervent in spirit. Keep at it and don’t slow down in your efforts to bring glory to God, share the good news, and in striving to be an authentic Christian. Always be excited about Jesus and what He is doing in your life.
Rejoice in hope. As bad as things seem to be getting in this world, remember that it is not falling apart, it is all coming together. Many people in this world are losing hope as they read the news and browse social media but that should not be the case for us. We know what is coming in the day’s ahead and our hope is in the Lord. We are looking forward to an eternity spent with Him.
Continue steadfastly in prayer. If we are going to be authentic and genuine, we need God to show us what that looks like on a regular basis. Don’t stop talking to God about how you can be authentic in your witness to others.
Given to hospitality. Open your homes, hearts, and lives to others. Invite them into your life so that they can get to know the real you, flaws and all. It is when other’s see that you have the same struggles, trials, and tribulations as everyone else, that they will begin to wonder about the source of your joy.
Is your Christian walk characterized by authenticity or hypocrisy? Commit today to becoming more and more authentic in your Christian walk.
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