Living Stream Ministry Podcast ::
Matthew 6:1 says, “But take care not to do your righteousness before men in order to be gazed at by them; otherwise, you have no reward with your Father who is in the heavens.” It then goes on to list three (3) activities that were frequently done by the religious people of the day in public. To pray…to gives alms to the poor…and to fast. But the Lord’s encouragement to all of His people is to do these things in secret where only He can see.
This is not an easy word to carry out. In fact, in our life this is impossible, but in the divine life in our spirit, we can do it. Let’s talk about these 3 items at the beginning of chapter 6 that deal with the doing of good deeds in an outward way as opposed to doing them in secret. In chapter 5, the thing that’s exposed there…in this constitution of the kingdom…is anger and lust. And we think that these are the most terrible things. They are really things that we need to avoid and get away from. Yes, they are terrible, but when you come to chapter 6 you see even more subtle problems and difficulties. Especially the self with the flesh.
And so we need to see this matter of praying, of giving and of fasting according to the Lord’s view so that these two subtle enemies which are even worse than lust and anger might be exposed. That is the flesh and that is the self. So that we would hate the self and repudiate the flesh. This word is very helpful to us if we really want to grow in the divine life and if we want the Lord’s kingdom to come in reality.
Giving alms, praying and fasting. These 3 things are used by the Lord to illustrate how we are filled up with the self and how we are filled up with the flesh. In these 3 illustrations, the Lord Jesus always used one word “secret.” “In secret.” You do it in secret, and your Father sees it in secret. In other words, to do things in secret is to kill the self; to do things in secret is to kill the flesh.
In society today, if you don’t let people make a show in their good doings, no one would do it. If you don’t give them any opportunity to show themselves off, no one would do it. In raising money, they just build up the best opportunity for the givers to make a good show. That is the flesh.
And so there is a basic principle with the kingdom people. That is…in doing anything, don’t show off your self. Do as much as you can in secret. Hide your self and have your self always covered. This constitution of the heavenly kingdom surely doesn’t give an inch to our anger, lust, natural being nor any ground to our self and flesh.
We must…by His mercy and grace…do everything if possible in a hidden way. Always try the best to do things pleasant to God…righteous with man…yet you do it in secret.