16 Jan 2013 by Timothy Tai CM-
As you read the gospels, you’ll find that there are many things that Jesus teaches us to do openly in our lives. First and foremost, we are to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind. Then as an outward expression of that love, we are to love our neighbors (that includes our enemies!) as ourselves. In fact, Jesus said that’s how people will know that we are His followers: by our love for one another.
Instead of being quick to judge others, Jesus instructs us to be merciful and to forgive people of their trespasses. He also set a clear example for us in serving each other and commissioned us to go preach the good news to everyone and to make disciples of all nations. These are but some of the things that should be obvious in every Christian’s life.
However, did you know that there are also certain things that Jesus teaches us to secretly carry out? Well, He did. Here are the 3 things (taken from His very own words in Matthew 6) that He expects us to do in secret:
#1. Jesus expects us to give to the needy in secret
We all know that God loves a cheerful giver. While many of us know that Jesus taught us to be generous and to give to the poor, we all need to be reminded that He also asked us to keep our giving under wraps.
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)
#2. Jesus expects us to pray in secret
Many churches have weekly prayer meetings where we can come together and pray for various needs in the body of Christ. While corporate prayer is both important and powerful, it is imperative that we regularly spend time praying to God in private.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. – Matthew 6:5-8 (NIV)
#3. Jesus expects us to fast in secret
There’s definitely power in fasting. I don’t know how it works but whenever we deny our own fleshly desires for food, we somehow decrease and we allow God to increase in us. Jesus tells us to fast in secret so that we can draw closer to God instead of drawing attention to ourselves.
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:16-18 (NIV)
Some of you might have noticed that Jesus didn’t say IF you were to give/pray/fast. He specifically said WHEN you give, WHEN you pray and WHEN you fast. In short, He assumes those three things to be part and parcel of His followers’ lives. He just wants us to do them in secret.
That leaves us now with these 2 questions:
- Do you give, pray and fast regularly in your life?
- Are you doing them secretly?
You don’t have to tell me the answer to those questions. Go on and do them already! Just remember: Mum’s the word. So shhhhhh!!!!!
Dear Viewers in Christ, if you find this article edifying to you, please share with your friends or loved ones by using the social media plugs (Share, Email to this article). The Lord will surely bless you as you bless others. May the Lord’s peace and love be with you. Amen.
Note: Timothy grew up in Kuching and worked in KL before jumping off the corporate ladder in 2006. He moved to New York City where he served at an inner-city kids ministry for almost 6 years. He has since returned to KL and has just married his Irish fiancee Sarah.
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