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Secret Life of the American Christian

I was almost blindsided by the sermon on the mount when I read it this morning. Truthfully I was not fully prepared for what God was going to show me about myself. So this post really is for me to work something out and if you should read it, hope it edifies you.  In Matthew 6, Jesus drops a couple of teaching points one behind the other that have seemed disjointed to me until today.

Verse 1 is the important one: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”

The thought hit me that he put “beware” in that statement for a reason. That we should be actively on guard. Actively fighting our natural tendency to seek the approval of man. He is warning us against the most basic for of idolatry and then he shows us where it is likely to come out:

vv 2-4 : How & why we serve and give money to needy.
vv 5-15: How and why we pray.
vv.16-18: how and why we fast.

Can I tell you it is so easy for me to pray louder and more eloquently with others than when I am alone with Jesus? I don’t necessarily share what dollar amount I give away but man I am always talking up how I am “serving” needy people either through my church or on my own.  And let’s be honest, when is the last time I fasted? OUCH!

Verses 19 – 21 provide great closure to this.  Do not lay up treasure for yourself on earth. is my treasure the approval of man or the approval of my heavenly father? If my heart really is after the approval of God, my treasure will be in that approval. And since I know I have that approval through Jesus, I will do those things in vv.1-18 willingly as a way to worship my father in heaven. I will not do them to be the holiest christian in the room.

So, how is your secret life with Jesus? are you a better public christian than private one?

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