Let's continue our daily series from Jesus’ teachings on the simple life. Today’s passage is similar to the passage from a few days ago, about Jesus’ criticisms of the religious establishment of his time.
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” (6:16)
A few days ago, we saw that Jesus denounced the religious people of his day—the Pharisees—as hypocritical. Today, he tells us, “Don’t be like them.” Before I deleted my Instagram, I had the distinct misfortune of having to follow (out of the weird new familial obligations introduced by social media) a family member who turned her profile into a fitspo page.
You ever follow someone who doing the fitness/inspiration thing? It’s insufferable. The cleanses, the fasts, the daily exercise summaries, the recipe posts—and who told fitspos it was cool to post three times a day? I used to wonder what she had left to cleanse from.
What, honestly, was she cleansing from, when she announces her third cleanse in as many months? And anytime you saw her out, she was always clutching a shaker bottle full of some lemon and pepper concoction… “I can’t go there. I’m on a cleanse,” she’d say with her face drawn.
I can rag on her ‘cause she’s family.
Here’s the deal, keeping this post nice and short: When you fast, when you conscientiously object, when you abstain, don’t call attention to yourself. Don’t walk around gaunt, with a hard face and forlorn gaze, eager to tell anyone who asks how you’re making such sacrifices in life. This goes for the minimalist.
Fast quietly. Abstain in silence. If someone asks why your life is so different, joyfully tell them about the benefits of your way of life. Only don’t hold yourself in a way that’s fishing for questions about your lifestyle. Jesus says of people like that, the attention they're getting is their reward.