Hey Everyone! Look at Me!
‘When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others 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.” – Matthew 6:16-18
Lent is coming soon. One practice many people do during Lent is giving something up. Since Lent is a time of repentance and to focus on the sacrifice Jesus made for our forgiveness, the idea is to sacrifice something you like to remember Christ’s sacrifice.
The practice is all well and good. If you want to give something up, that’s great, but it’s really something that is supposed to help you, personally, to focus more on Jesus, not something intended to make you seem like a “better Christian.” However, I’ve known people who treated it just like that.
These folks looked for every opportunity to tell someone what they were giving up. Anytime something was even remotely related, they would bring it up. A conversation might go something like, “Hey everyone, how about we go to Subway and get some lunch.” “Well, I guess I can go, but I can’t get a soda. I’ve given up sugary drinks for Lent.”
It seems they are more interested in everyone knowing they are giving something up than they are reflecting on Christ’s sacrifice. That’s self-glorification and pride.
In our passage for today, Jesus is helping us to remember that the purpose of things like fasting or giving something up for Lent is not to make ourselves look better, but to focus our hearts on minds on Him. So, if you want to fast or give something up for Lent, great, but do it to focus on Jesus.
Thank you for sacrificing for us. Help me to be humble in how I walk with You, just as you were humble in serving me.