Commands of Christ

Practice Secret Disciplines

Where is this command found?

“But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly….But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly….But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.”

Matthew 6:3-4, 6, 17-18

Applying This Command

Have you ever wondered why your prayers seem unanswered? Or that God appears to be distant and that your attempts to serve Him go unnoticed? Christ gave us the command to Practice Secret Disciplines as a key to make a “distant God” very real and personal!

In Matthew 6:1–18, Jesus commands us to give, pray and fast in secret. Why in secret? When we do something in secret, no one sees besides God. This allows Him to be the only One glorified and gives Him the opportunity to reward us openly. But, if we do things to receive praise from man, we lose God’s reward. And not only this, but we give up an opportunity to develop greater intimacy in our fellowship with Him.

If a believer desires deeper intimacy with God and the reward of Biblical disciplines, they must learn to pursue God in secret. God has promised He will reward us openly if we obey Him secretly. Seeking God through practicing secret disciplines is not only rewarding, it is fulfilling. It is through these disciplines that we can further cultivate a deeper intimacy and fellowship with the Lord.

Bible Verses for Meditation

In addition to meditating on Matthew 6:1–18, the verses below will provide you with further insight and understanding of Christ’s command: Practice secret disciplines.

Colossians 3:23–24

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”

II Corinthians 9:6–8

“He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”

II Corinthians 10:18

“For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.”

Proverbs 20:6

“Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?”

Related Episodes

From the Podcast

Dive deeper into the command Practice Secret Disciplines with these episodes from the Commands of Christ podcast!

Study Question

Q: Since God requires openness and honesty in all of our dealings, why did He bless Esther and Mordecai for withholding her true identity from the one whom she married?

A: Esther lived during the reign of Ahasuerus. He ruled the vast Persian Empire from 486–465 B.C. His dominion extended from India to Ethiopia and included 127 provinces.

The Jewish people had been carried away from the Promised Land as captives and were living throughout his kingdom. They were generally despised by the people around them and had many enemies. Their enemies were well represented by Haman, who had the confidence of the king, and planned the destruction of all the Jews.

Haman knew that Mordecai was a Jew and made careful plans to destroy him. If Haman had known that Esther was also Jewish, he would no doubt have planned to destroy her as well. By withholding the identity of her Jewish heritage, Esther demonstrated both obedience and discretion. Mordecai had commanded her not to make it known, and the reasons for not doing so became obvious as the story unfolded.

Esther committed herself to serving the king in whatever ways she could through her marriage to him. Mordecai arranged his daily schedule to watch out for the welfare of the king and Esther. In the process of his surveillance, he discovered a plot against the life of the king and reported it to him through Esther.

When Mordecai and Esther learned of Haman’s wicked plot to kill all of the Jews in the empire, they spent time in fervent prayer and fasting. (See Esther 4:16.) Their selflessness in protecting the king and serving him, in spite of who his top advisor was, paved the way for Esther’s appeal on behalf of her people.

With their lives, character, and deeds, Esther and Mordecai won the respect and favor of the king. Therefore, the king was committed to helping them preserve their people during a time of crisis. The net result of God’s working through their righteous actions was that the entire kingdom honored the Jews and the God whom they served.

For Further Study

You can learn more about the command Practice Secret Disciplines in the book Commands of Christ: Series 2.

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