Week One – Day 3
TODAY’S FAST – Fast one meal today and use that time as an appointment with God
What do you do in secret? One of the sure marks of spiritual growth is the secrets we keep. As children we learn to try to hide our mistakes. When we do something we know we’re not supposed to do, we keep it secret. This behavior naturally carries over into adulthood. As children we sneak cookies. As adults we might try to sneak a drink, a smoke, or something much worse. When we do something we think is bad or that other people might consider bad, we do our best to keep it secret so we won’t have to suffer the consequences.
Followers of Jesus, however, are given an upside down instruction: We are not told to keep the bad things we do secret—we are told to keep the good things secret. The word “secret” appears six times in today’s reading. Three times we are told to do something in secret: give, pray, and fast. Each command ends with the promise: “And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:4,6,18).
Just as we naturally want to hide the bad things we do, we likewise want to publicize the good things we do. If we do something brave, virtuous, or impressive, we want others to notice. Jesus turns this tendency inside out. He tells us to keep quiet about the good things we do. When we give, pray, and fast, it should not be a public act to gain us recognition. Instead, our giving, prayer, and fasting should be a private act of worship with God as our only audience.
Want to discover a clue as to how your spiritual growth is coming along? Ask yourself: What kind of secrets am I keeping?
Create in me a pure heart. God would you create in me a new heart? A heart that loves You completely. A heart that is cleansed of all the junk of my life. A heart that loves as You love. Purify me and fill me with your Spirit. Amen
“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.”
Matthew 6:1 NIV