DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2021-01-16
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS
BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 6:6; 17-18;
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)
BIBLE TEXT: 6 But whenever you pray, go into your innermost chamber and be alone with Father God,[f] praying to him in secret. And your Father, who sees all you do, will reward you openly.
17–18 When you fast, don’t let it be obvious, but instead, wash your face[p] and groom yourself and realize that your Father in the secret place is the one who is watching all that you do in secret and will continue to reward you openly.”
OBSERVATION: Most people will go an extra mile if they know that a reward awaits them! I was traveling extra miles to receive the rewards of a gas card, until I realized it was only pennies that I was saving per gallon of gas! But many institutions offer a rewards credit card, because they know that the customer will use the card more than any other card in their wallet. Jesus told the disciples what they needed to do to receive the attention of their Master and be rewarded by Him. This is important to us today, because He will also see us and reward us appropriately.
APPLICATION: Although rewards come in different forms, I believe that the idea is still inviting to saints today. Imagine: If you accept Jesus as Lord, He will care for you and watch over you until you meet Him in heaven one day with the Father; If you call on the name of Jesus, He will heal you and make you whole again; If you obey His commands and live according to His will, He will bless you; etc, etc. However, I believe that our Scripture today reveals that God has some specific ways that we might best follow His commands:
1. Pray – When you pray, know that it’s not for the purpose of impressing the pastor, the Sunday School teacher nor anyone else. I don’t believe that God is trying to discourage corporate prayer, but instead He is teaching us to keep our minds focused on the One to whom we are praying. Avoid the distractions of who’s sitting next to you, or the honor of who else is in the room where you are praying, and instead focus on the God of the universe, the One who made heaven and earth and every living creature – the only One who is capable of answering your prayer. Worship Him with the honor He deserves, and respectful ask Him for the desires of your heart and as they might fit into His perfect will;
2. Fasting – I believe it is appropriate to first say that I believe the idea of fasting is to better enable you to concentrate solely on the purpose of your prayer, without having to worry about the one thing we feel is so necessary – food. In other words, you are taking a specific need to God while saying to Him that there is nothing more important in your life at that time. To do this in all sincerity, Jesus taught that it would be an agreement strictly between you and God. Your neighbor wouldn’t hear you whining about the lack of food, nor would they see you frowning over the want for something you committed to God to do without. You would not be looking for praise from anyone about your decision to Fast, so you would be strictly confidential about it. You will have no need to think how good you are to make such a sacrifice, because you will quickly realize that you are but a particle of dirt when you stand before the Great I Am.
Friends, God said that these are two important aspects of our Christian journey, and when we seek Him through our private prayer, and through our confidential fasting, He will see it and He will reward us openly. Not sure why Jesus thought to tell us that God will reward us ‘OPENLY’, but I could only assume that God will want others to see that we are blessed by Him because of the relationship we have with Him. Often this will cause someone to look on, learn and try to duplicate whatever it is that we are doing. I believe that God would quickly affirm – mission accomplished!
PRAYER: It all seems simple enough that these are things we should do as children of the Most High God. But seeing that You had the need to teach Your closest companions/helpers these basic principles, I believe that You also knew that even after we learned from You and the disciples, we too would struggle to achieve Your ideals in these areas. The distractions seem to have gotten worse for us Lord, for there are now electronic devices, Social Media, incurable diseases, etc. So Lord, we need You more today than ever before to help us stay focused on You, Your work, Your Word and our time alone with You. I am humbly asking for You to soften our hardened hearts and draw us into a deeper personal relationship with You. Oh that we might come to You more often in ways described in today’s Scripture. Perhaps we might then be more serious about our prayer life and our relationship with You. Have Your will and way in our lives dear Lord, so that You may be glorified on earth, as You are in Heaven. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!