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Lesson # Matt. 6:17-18
Study Material - Matt. 6:17-18
You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.
17 'But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face 18 so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
In the ancient world anointing was used for a variety of reasons. It was used for health as certain oils were considered to have wide spread healing powers. It was used to express hospitality for guests, to mark special honors for special occasions. It was used to make appointments of high office.
Here the two words for anoint, 'aleipho', and washing, 'nipto', are used in conjunction with each other as well as in the context of fasting. So 'anoint' means to appoint by means of perfumed oils, make a union, make a beginning, appoint. Washing is in reference to a ceremonial cleansing. The two together represent the fellowship process of confession, placing the Holy Spirit in control over your soul, making you pure of heart with God, thus combining you with God in the union of fellowship.
We do not fast, or stop eating foods and at the same time pour motor oil, or vegetable oil, or some other sort of oil over our heads and then take a shower. We can see the argument right away. What sort of oil do you use? Beef grease, pig fat, pure vegetable oil, but what kind of vegetables, mixed or maybe one vegetable is more spiritual than another. Maybe virgin oil, or even an extra virgin oil. Now that would be appropriate, don't you think? You know, Jesus was born of a virgin!!!
And this is all to be done in private. Might be thought of as a little kinky by some who don't know what you are doing - you know, all covered with your favorite virgin oil and shampoo and skipping a meal. Hummm! Now that I think of it, should the shampoo have a conditioner in it, or not? You know these spiritual subjects can really get deep, sort of.
And to top it all off, we get paid, by God, for all this kinky fasting. Right? Well, of course not. All of the above is nonsense.
Fasting is a representation of abstention certainly, but foods are not the objective, only the teaching aid. Fasting is the issue and the avoidance of sin by means of confession and therefore fellowship with God. The reward? That is the result of living inside that fellowship sphere with God, by applying Bible doctrine to your daily life and living the Christian life in that manner.
By living inside of your fellowship sphere, you are generating spiritual production (gold, silver, and precious stones), rather than sin nature production (wood, hay, and stubble) for your life. These spiritual assets store up treasures in heaven for you - the payoff in eternity when you get there. As opposed to the treasures you are generating on this earth by means of the sin nature if you should choose to ignore your Bible principles.
Again the spiritual life is in the soul. Your daily life should be a result of what you have learned from your Bible study. At the same time you will or should not be greedy or gluttons for the pleasures of life in total disregard for others. Then fasting of the literal sense should bring your mental focus and alertness to those other peoples that live around you either in your neighborhood, your family, your work, or even in the distant lands on this planet. Having some sense of humility such as hunger (or something that can remind you that you are indeed inferior and dependent on things outside of you, such as food), should help you keep your arrogance, your selfishness, your bias, and your presumptions of superiority in check.
Just as charity helps you focus on others and their needs rather than your own needs. Just as prayer and the total concept of Bible study in worship helps you focus on the superior existence of a higher authority and power. So too, fasting should help you focus on your total helplessness and your need for that higher resource to help guide your life. But remember just going on a diet is not the spiritual life. Your diet must be a diet of soul, weaned off of the worldly viewpoints of life and replaced with healthy portions of real soul food - Bible doctrine.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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