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GOD’S SECRET PRESENCE

Daily Devotional Matthew 6:1–18


Nobody likes to be around those who are proud, arrogant, and always tout their accomplishments. Those types of people tend to suck all the oxygen out of the room with their inflated egos.


When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.

MATTHEW 6:6


In Matthew 6, Jesus addresses pride within the context of worship. He describes the wrong and right ways of enacting religious practices of giving, prayer, and fasting. In each case, believers are told not to be boastful and proud, but to act “in secret” (v. 6). We are to seek the smile of God’s face shining upon us rather than seeking human approval. The behavior of a true Christ follower contrasts with “hypocrites” (v. 5) who only care about present, public honor.


This may seem like a contra- diction. How can we radically radiate God’s presence to others in public, while also conducting ourselves privately and secretly in the company of God when no one else sees? The answer focuses on our intent. Matthew 6 teases out the theme of authentic spirituality. Here Jesus is encouraging His followers to practice their righteousness not to be seen by others, but by Father “who sees what is done in secret” (v. 6).


God’s presence is affirmed in moments when we are away from the prying eyes of the world. Jesus’ words should affect how we conduct ourselves in giving to the needy, praying, or fasting. When we do this to receive attention from others, we have already “received [our] reward in full” (v. 16). Our only audience is God Himself. This mindset increases our trust that God is at work in the unseen. God’s presence is always at work. As we go about our spiritual practices, let us do so with sincerity, conscious of His watchful eye and trusting in His unseen work.


Go Deeper


Today’s culture of social media adds a new complex layer to the words of Jesus in Matthew 6. What are the dangers of public displays of “religious” practice? 


Pray with Us:


Teach us, Lord, how to seek only Your face, hear Your voice in our prayer time, and enjoy Your presence in our lives. Help us to protect this one-on-one time with You and make it a priority.

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