As a music major in college, I had a struggle to complete some of the required tasks to get my degree because I suffered from performance anxiety. I could be in my practice room and play a piece with emotion and good technique, but sometimes my performance anxiety would even cause me to be unable to play with the same emotion and technique in front of my flute prof. during lessons. With that said, as a musician there is always a part of me that enjoys the attention from the performance. It is such an unusual mix of feelings - frightened of performing yet desiring to perform. The desire for performance used to cause trouble for me in church as well because I wanted to worship using my flute yet I found myself desiring the accolades for playing my instrument. I eventually learned to play in church with a heart of worship, but I really had to pray that God would change my heart in that area. Believe it or not, participating in a fast can have a similar struggle. Please look up Zechariah 7.
Verses 5-6 says, "'Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?'" That's a question that can be piercing to have to hear, "Was it really for me?" Have you ever had to face that question from God? It is painful when we have to be honest and realize that something that seemed like a good thing to do had self-honoring motives. Has He ever asked you, "Are you doing this for yourself or for me?" Once again, we see how God is pointing out that the point of the fast isn't to act or look holy, it is to honor God. Are we fasting to impress someone or even ourselves, or are we fasting to seek the heart of God?
Galatians 1:10 says, "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ." That is such a strong statement, and one I need to hear. I have been putting myself in a position of worrying about what others think and I work harder to try to make sure they approve. The end result is a job well done; however, is it well done in God's eyes? Have I done it for my own glory or for His glory? Was I just doing my job as a servant of Christ? I can do a good thing; however, done with the wrong heart is not doing it for God. Please, if you are fasting or about to fast, ask yourself if you are seeking approval from man. A fast should be between you and God and with a heart that seeks to serve Him.
Are you aproaching your day to serve God or man?