Things Hidden and Revealed

Matthew-6.1-4There are some things that are to be hidden and others that are to be shown to others. “Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5: 15-16).  Yeshua said this in the context of saying that believers are the salt and light of the world.  Salt is a preserving agent and light illuminates all upon which it shines.  Our good deeds are to bring glory to the Father in heaven.  This is an important distinction, they are not to bring glory to ourselves.  It might very well be that true good deeds will reflect upon God, whereas deeds done out of our good intentions will not.

Yeshua said He did nothing on His own, but whatever He saw the Father doing. (John 5:19; 8:28).  If Yeshua said this about himself how much more should it be true of us. Moreover, good deeds are prepared by God in advance by God for us to do. (Eph. 2:10).  Where this is so, upon what basis is any related glory and credit due to us.  The very nature of such good deeds proceed from God and should bring Him glory.  “But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:21, KJV).  The KJV indicates that those who live in the truth (Yeshua) will do good deeds that have been wrought (made or fashioned) by God.  Such good deeds may vary: healings, deliverance, sharing the good news, and encouragement are just a few examples that the Spirit may work in believers. (Luke 4:18).

On the contrary, when you give charitably, keep it hidden.  “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.  So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matt. 6: 1-4).  Giving money does not bring glory to God in the same way as do good deeds done by and through God’s Holy Spirit.

Prayer also is to be a private activity, not done for public exhibition.  “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 others.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matt. 6: 5-6).  This does not mean that groups of people should not pray together; where two or more are praying in agreement to God, this is a joint activity all are praying, so that there is no audience. This is a very good thing, just as the whole church was praying for Peter when he had been imprisoned by the Jewish leaders, but was miraculously released.

Fasting also is to be a private activity.  “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matt. 6: 16-18).  As we walk in step with the indwelling Holy Spirit all these actions will be part of our life in God.  May we live that life of surrender and submission to God, waiting, listening, responding to His prompting, by His power, in His way.

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