Matthew 6:1-18

Today's Passage: Matthew 6:1-18

As Jesus continues with the Sermon on the Mount, his attention on making his disciples (and
those listening in) understand the true meaning of these Old Testament commands remains
fixed on the heart over the outward behavior. In verses 1-18, Jesus warns his hearers not to
focus on what is external (although it may be good!) and to seek out the true motives of the
heart before practicing piety.

The instructions are in regard to: giving to the needy, prayer, and fasting.

As noble as an act as it is to help those is poverty (as is a command throughout the entire Old
Testament), doing so with a faulty motive is more dangerous than abstinence. In order that we
aren’t praised for our giving, Jesus wants our heart to be united in giving to others for the glory
God, not for our own sake.
  •  Sound no trumpet before you. (v. 2)
  •  Don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing. (v.3)
  •  Your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (v. 4)

As much as we need prayer and are commanded to pray (notice Jesus says, “When you pray”
not “if you pray), praying to be seen by other people is hypocritical. We have an audience of
one, which is why the solution to public recognition is private retreat.
  •  Go into your room and shut the door (v. 6)
  •  Your Father who sees in secret will reward you (v. 6)
  •  Do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do (v. 7)

As important as the spiritual discipline of fasting is, we cannot announce our fasting to
accentuate our spiritual fervor. Actually, this kind of pomp and circumstance is the opposite of
Christian maturity.
  •  Do not look gloomy to be seen by others.
  •  Anoint your head, wash your face, that it won’t be seen by others.
  •  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

This is what Jesus wanted his disciples (and you!) to kno:. God sees you. It doesn’t matter if
people do, God is your Father who rewards. People have short-lived praise that steals glory and
promotes pride rather than humility. God works in the secret and is happy to bless those who
practice piety for His name sake rather than for our own.

So, remember this simple truth today: whether or not you feel like people see you, your
heavenly Father sees you. Live your life for that audience of One.

Written By: Drew Dukes

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