Done in Secret: A Measure of Belief, Devotional Matthew 6:1-18

‘ Done in secret’ sometimes carries a seedy connotation. These three things done in secret express  spirituality, Jesus says these things done in secret provide a measure of his reward. He emphasizes focus on my relationship with him, not on how others view me. Jesus wants me to focus on him, on depending on him to do the impossible, not going up to the limit of impressing others as a good person. Done in secret measures  how much I believe. Do I really believe? Do I believe so much that my relationship with Jesus exceeds all else? Is he my God? Or do I prefer the good opinion of others? This is an important question because as I move further along in my study of Matthew and of a discussion of his blessings, I must have this question answered. Without him as my God, I cannot receive his blessings.

This section gives a useful framework for prayer and a way to structure my prayers. In addition to focussing on my internal relationship with Jesus, I am also presented with my first major challenge in my relationship with him: I must forgive those who sin against me. If I will not forgive, he will not forgive me.

Fasting is  a useful tool for helping me to understand and experience that I need Jesus more than I need air, food, or water. A fast is also a good time to reflect upon, dig out, and forgive any grudges I may bear. It is also a good time to examine my  beliefs and reflect upon life.

Do I really believe? Do I believe enough to forgive? Unless I forgive, there will be no relationship with him. And no prayers will be answered.

Read Matthew 6:1-18

  1. What concerns me most in religious matters: what is done is secret or what I do publicly?
  2. If I were to change my focus in my relationship with Jesus to what is done in secret, how would this change how I am living?
  3. What can cause me to drift toward an external orientation and how can I prevent it?
  4. How is peace possible when I am concerned about the opinion of others?
  5. If I devote myself to pleasing others, is it possible to be at peace?
  6. If I am focusing on pleasing Jesus, will he help me? Does he promise peace?
  7. How is it easier to forgive if I have a relationship with Jesus built upon what is done in secret?
  8. How do I feel about my devotional and prayer life? Who do I need to forgive?

Passage for Meditation

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15

Prayer

Father help me to remember that because of your sacrifice through Jesus Christ, all my sins are forgiven. You have forgiven me for all sins that I have committed and will commit as long as I remain in you. Help me not to elevate myself above you and pridefully refuse to forgive. Help me to turn to you quickly when I sin, and help me to quickly and obediently forgive those who sin against me. Remind me that if I am having trouble forgiving I am also having trouble believing. When I stray to thinking about external religious practice, turn me back to my relationship with you. Remind me that if I will devote myself to my relationship with you, that you will place me and direct me where I need to be. If I devote myself to you, I need not worry about or even consider the opinions of others.

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