As I started through my Bible again at the beginning of this year, I decided to keep a journal of devotional thoughts to share here on the blog. I hope they will be a blessing and encouragement to you - that's my goal!
Four Things Done In Secret That God Rewards Openly
As I started my New Testament journey in the book of Matthew, I was immediately struck by chapter six, where God lists several things that a Christian is to strive for. God plainly tells us that these are things that we are to do privately as a part of our walk with God. Because of His great love for us, He also promises a reward to those who follow through on them. I think it's amazing that we can be so blessed by God, just by being obedient.
The really neat blessing about this whole thing is that even though we do these things in secret, meaning we don't make a huge ordeal or announcement over the fact that we did them, God's rewards are very evident and abundant, and definitely not a secret!
Here are the four things we can strive to learn about and put into practice:
In this chapter, the directions are given to do "alms" which basically means giving to the poor or those in need. Let's face it, it's easy to give to someone that has given to you, or that you know has the means to return the favor when you have a need, but true love, and God's way, gives to those who cannot or will not repay. The Bible talks about giving to the poor, that it is just like "lending to the Lord". Even better, if this giving is done in secret with no expectation of others giving you a "pat on the back" for being such a great Christian, then God, who sees everything, promises to repay in ways that only He can.Matthew 6:4 "That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly."
Matthew 6:6 "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."Much can be accomplished through prayer. Not only does it strengthen our relationship with the Lord through worship, communication, and trust, but it is also a means of loving and helping others. I find it interesting that the ones who prayed loudly and openly in the Gospels were not the ones that Jesus lifted up. He always pointed out and emphasized the humble, quiet, faithful praying people. Secret prayer strengthens the life of a Christian like nothing else can. It is something we need to make a priority in our life if we want to see the power of God evident in what we are setting out to accomplish.
This is a very strong verse. Forgiveness is really a matter of the heart. There may even be people who we must forgive that we cannot ever have the opportunity to tell them they are forgiven. Perhaps they never asked, or never realized that they caused us hurt, or maybe they are no longer here. If we harbor bitterness in our heart against them, we are only destroying our own life, and causing grief to our own heart. I do not want to miss out on the blessing of feeling complete freedom and forgiveness in my own life, because I have chosen to deliberately hold out and not offer that forgiveness to someone else. Forgiveness is something that is 'done in secret' because it is something that is not seen by others, but is known to only you and God.Matthew 6:14 "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:"
Fasting is a time set aside to deny the flesh something it craves, and to replace that time seeking after God. Whether we choose to fast from food, electronics or media, or even something else in our life, this should be a special time where we can draw closer and build on our relationship with the Lord. It is also something that should not be "announced" for attention or the awe and praise of man. I know a man who fasted 40 days in order to seek God's will on a matter. Only the closest few people to him knew, in order to be a help and to have understanding about what was going on in his life. I do believe God has greatly rewarded this man openly, as He promised, for the time spent fasting and seeking after God.Matthew 6:18 "That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."
God, who sees all, knows us better than we even know ourselves. He understands our heart, and wants us to surrender it, and all its desires to Him. He wants to bless us. Let us seek after these things that we can do secretly, just between us and our God, and watch how much God moves in our lives, and in the lives of our families, because of it!