Redeem the Commute is not just about courses – it’s about being part of a community of people being challenged to live differently by following Jesus.  We posted fresh daily challenges from 2012 to 2016 that followed a daily and weekly rhythm:

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Ryan Sim - May 7, 2013

Tuesday - Study It - Self Denial

Sermon on the Mount

Matthew 6:16-18 ESV - “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. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Fasting – willingly going without food, completely or just for a part of each day. It was a common practice in Jesus’ day. The Pharisees fasted twice a week. John the Baptist and his disciples fasted regularly. We know that the disciples of Jesus were notable for not fasting, although Jesus did, and expected they would after his death. And here – he seems to assume they will fast. He says, "When you fast." not "if you fast". So just like the last two weeks – Jesus is not simply commanding some religious observance, like generosity or prayer. He is teaching about how, and the motivations for, those observances. The inner motivations matter to him, not just the outer practices. And it’s important with fasting. Throughout the Bible, fasting was a means of self-denial or self-discipline, particularly in penitence for some sin in their life. Humbling ourselves for God. But the hypocrites made it something for others to see as well. There are a few ways to do that – look dishevelled, rub ashes on your face to look sickly, or cover your head in sackcloth. Like they were doing with their ostentatious public prayers, or their conspicuous generosity, they advertised their religiosity to the world. It makes no sense at all, because fasting is supposed to be an exercise of humility! Acting humbly, to engage in an outer sign of penitence and humility like fasting, and yet have no inner remorse or motivation to change our ways. They are actors – the very definition of a hypocrite. We do this all the time – in job interviews we don’t want to come across as a self-centered renegade, but want to sound like a team player, so we find ways to communicate how humble and effective we are at the same time. When people congratulate us, we downplay it – oh it was nothing. It’s become almost a joke that every Oscar winner needs to thank God for their success, whether they believe that or not. This year, though, people somehow looked beyond all those scripted moments, and fell in love with Jennifer Lawrence because her back stage interview came across as genuine, down to earth and honest. Question: Have you ever needed to prove your humility to someone? How did you do it?

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