“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven” Mt 6:1
I know I could be accused of being intentionally provocative with the title. I gave it quite a bit of thought but this is the most accurate and most descriptive title. So, for all of those that clicked on a link thinking it was about some hidden inner circle of the new world order, I will quickly dispel that notion so we can let you get on with illuminati hunt. This is not a note about a gnostic secret of Christianity or some clandestine club behind the scenes of the visible church. If such a thing exists then I am blissfully ignorant of it. Let us instead explore God’s desire to have a secret relationship with each believer.
The very first question my future father-in-law asked me was “Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” It is kind of a common question in the church and I have used it or a variation many times to start a evangelical conversation. It is still a valid question I am not here to argue semantics or challenge some misconception about established teaching. God does indeed want a personal relationship with each of us.
The idea of a secret has a negative connotation but not every secret is necessarily a bad thing. My daughter saw a movie one time where a person was replaced with a robot. It was actually meant to be funny but it because the robot was able to fool everyone for a time it caused an insecurity in her young mind. She told me about her fear and my solution was to make up a secret password that we share with no one. To this day even though she has long out-grown the fear we still enjoy this little secret between us. It is an intimate secret between father and daughter. In addition, there is some private jokes between my wife and I that we consider secrets between the two of us. So why not just say private instead of secret? Well for two reasons. First the word “secret” is stronger than private. It has a sacredness to it that private just does not communicate. Second it is the language used in the bible. And that is good enough for me!
The Christian Church should not be a secret society of specialists, but a public manifestation of believers in Jesus. Oswald Chambers
My wife and I run a small private school in a small town in Texas. Once a year we take as many students as we can to Sky Ranch for their outdoor education experience. Every night we have little devotional times before bed. I decided this year I would try to have a theme tying all the devotions and prayers before meals together. In prayer I began to be lead toward the idea of rededication. We have had other children in previous years of going to camp rededicate their lives to Christ. Then a thought occurred to me: is the idea of rededication actually in the bible? When I first thought about it I could not come up with any examples or scripture references. And that is how the journey began. What, if anything, does the bible say about dedicating our lives to Christ? The result of this search was the discovery that God wanted a secret relationship with me, the purpose of which was a daily rededication of my life to him.
There are two elements to this secret society of Christians. The first is undercover charity work. “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Mt 6:2-4 We can think of ourselves as philanthropic ninjas. Sneaking up on people in need and WHACK! We punch them in their destitution and get away before they know what happened. There is nothing wrong working for charities like Empty Stocking and Salvation Army. They do a lot of good for people and they need volunteers. God encourages us to ALSO do good things that only God knows you did so that he can bless you in His special way.
There is also nothing wrong with praying in public for a meal nor we discouraged from gathering in prayer with those who are hurting or sick. The discouragement is for those who prayer in self pride to boaster themselves in the minds of others. God says that is all they will get if that is their goal but there is a special blessing for those who pray in private. “When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Mt 6:5-6 We should spend quality time each day in prayer in a way that only God knows we are praying and what we are saying. God promises to honor this kind of prayer.
In conclusion God wants to be in your private moments and your private life that no one else gets to experience. He want to be in your inner most sanctum of thoughts. He stands and the door and knocks. Let him in.