Today’s reading: Matthew 6:1-24
A couple of chapters ago I mentioned patterns. We see a pattern occurring once again here in the first part of Matthew chapter six, when in the first 24 verses our Lord mentions the phrase “in secret” three different times, each encouraging us to focus inward on our relationship with Him rather than outward towards others.
The first secret thing is the manner in which we give. The second secret thing is in our prayers and ongoing communication with Him. Then there is a pause when the disciples ask Him to teach them how to pray (we see their request made in Luke 11:1), so He takes the time to pray a prayer many of us were taught to memorize. Paraphrasing, I can imagine in a conversational way the Lord may have emphasized it like this:
Father, You are Holy!
Your Kingdom has no boundaries,
Your word is always accomplished.
I pray, meet our needs each day
Teach us to forgive as You forgive
YOU are my King!
YOURS is the power!
YOURS is the glory, forever!
The Lord’s third secret thing is in fasting, or abstaining from certain foods or things. I imagine He picked these three examples because whether back then or even now, these are three areas where we have a tendency to be show-offs, wearing our “Christianity” for all to see, so that it becomes all about US rather than about Him.
I heard someone once say that before the fall of man, we were God-focused. After the fall, we became self-focused. The secret to true Christianity is revealed in verse 21, when He says “for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. It becomes all about our need to return to a God-focused life. As long as we care more about the approval of man rather than the approval of God, we will fail to experience the fullness of His love and all He has for us in this life.
“The whole discipline of life is to enable us to enter into this closest relationship with Jesus Christ. We receive His blessings and know His word, but do we know Him”? -Oswald Chambers