16 And whenever you are fasting, do not look gloomy and sour and dreary like the hypocrites, for they put on a dismal countenance, that their fasting may be apparent to and seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full already.
17 But when you fast, perfume your head and wash your face,
18 So that your fasting may not be noticed by men but by your Father, Who sees in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open.
Matthew 6:16-18 AMPC
when you fast
Jesus is addressing fasting in Matthew 6. Jesus says, "WHEN WE FAST," meaning that He is expecting us to fast, that we should not look gloomy or down, to appear as if we are fasting. Our fasting should be done secretly so that people should not know about it. The reason is so that our Heavenly Father will see it and will reward us openly. Our Father sees our hearts and we need to fast with the right heart motive. We shouldn't do things to be seen by others. We should do them out of a pure and sincerity of heart.
When we fast we shouldn't be putting ashes on our foreheads to let people know that we are fasting. The Lord desires that we do it in secret. When I am fasting, I don't tell people. I may sometimes tell my wife so she won't get offended because I'm not eating what she cooked. I keep fasting a secret because I see how true the Scripture is. God rewards me openly when I fast secretly. After I am done fasting, I will share a testimony of how God showed up mightily in my life.
Importance of Fasting
As Christians we NEED to fast and pray. Fasting and prayer are essential to Christians in the Faith. Jesus lived a life of fasting and prayer while He was on the earth. We must walk and follow in His footsteps. The Holy Spirit will lead us to fast and we need to submit to His leading.
6 Whoever says he abides in Him ought [as ]a personal debt] to walk and conduct himself in the same way in which He walked and conducted Himself.
1 John 2:6 AMPC
Lets not be like the Pharisees who do ALL of their works to be seen by others
5 They do all their works to be seen of men; for they make wide their phylacteries (small cases enclosing certain Scripture passages, worn during prayer on the left arm and forehead) and make long their fringes [worn by all male Israelites, according to the command].
Matthew 23:5 AMPC