I like to get to the point. I’m not one for a lot of small talk. I like the way Jesus gets to the point.
I’ve been reading His teachings when he spoke to crowds from a mountainside. It’s the part in Matthew where my Bible’s pages are covered in red print, the words of my Savior. Matthew 5, 6 and 7 are sectioned into tidy topics. With good reason. There do seem to be distinct topics. But when I look at those chapters as a whole, I see that one of the many underlying themes is secrecy. Jesus makes it plain as day that we need to do things in secret. When we give to the needy, when we pray, when we fast, it shouldn’t ever be to gain attention from people. All of it should be directed toward God, to draw us closer to Him, and to bring Him glory.
“Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men, to be see by them…when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the street, to be honored by men…do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.”
“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 men…but when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen…”
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting…when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father , who is unseen…”
And then the promise that is in all three sections:
“…then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
I want to get to the place where I only care what God thinks! Sure it’s good to be aware of how people perceive me, but I want to only care if I have the approval of the King of Glory. If I am doing what I know He approves of, then my interactions with people will follow suit. “By their fruit you will recognize them,” it says in Matthew 7. I’m not recognized by people as a follower of Jesus by my eloquent prayers, or how I give to those in need, or my fasting practices. I’m recognized by supernatural fruit. Yes, supernatural. Sounds tasty, and it is. Supernatural fruit in a person’s life, evidence that Christ lives in them, is visible to Believer and Non. It is the sweetness of a loving God. It shows where our hearts are.
Vine, branch, fruit.
Secrecy, promise, reward.
Simple, right? Not so much. We are creatures that typically like to draw attention to ourselves.
Lord, less of me and more of You! Let my actions, words and thoughts be full of you and let the “overflow of my heart” be evidence of my time with You, for Your glory, and Yours alone. I love you, Jesus.
– Susie Stewart