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Keeping Up Appearances- Day 6

You have a choice.

You can either read the reflection below or listen to me talk in the video here:

Day 6

6:1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

9 “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name,10 your kingdom come,your will be done,    on earth as it is in heaven.11 Give us today our daily bread.12 And forgive us our debts,    as we also have forgiven our debtors.13 And lead us not into temptation,    but deliver us from the evil one.’

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

We often speak about walking the talk, but we can all think of examples where the walk is a bit too flashy. We do a lot in our culture to keep up appearances and not show weakness, but there are times where we like to receive recognition and acknowledgment for the good things we do. All too often our focus is on ourselves, even when we are being generous. The thing we need to see in this passage is that Jesus lived out exactly what he is talking about here. He did not do things to put on a display, and even later on when he was being mocked and beaten, he did not defend himself. That is why I think Jesus chose to put the Lord’s prayer right here. In the midst of talking about turning the other cheek in the previous chapter, not putting on selfish displays here, as well as focusing on forgiveness. This prayer covers pretty much all the bases, Acknowledging God and his holiness, seeking his will, recognizing his provision for our daily needs, asking for forgiveness, and asking for his help to forgive others. This prayer is focused solely on the Father and what he is doing. We need take hold of it more deeply and seek to align our hearts with his, our will with his, and then we can see his kingdom come here on earth.

You are invited to pray or to be prayed for. As we learn more about who Jesus is let us then enter into prayer and be shaped by him.

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