Matthew 6: 1 - 4, "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. NKJV
Matthew 6: 5 - 6, "And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. NKJV
Matthew 6: 16 - 18, "Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. NKJV
When it comes to being a witness for Christ, our heavenly Father wants us to live out loud. Jesus commands us in Matthew 5 to be salt and light to the world. He instructs us to let our light shine in a way that brings glory to our heavenly Father. However, when it comes to our personal acts of worship and obedience to the Lord, Jesus commands that we keep them secret.
You will notice that in the areas of giving, praying, and fasting, our Lord doesn't give us an option. He only tells us "when" we respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit in these three areas, then we are to see to it that no one knows what we are doing because His desire is for our reward to come from God and not man.
The Lord doesn't want us to give any place for our flesh to participate in these areas so that we may receive a greater reward from the Father... who sees what we secretly do. Our secrecy will also challenge the motive behind what we do for Christ and the kingdom of God. If we can give, pray, and fast without recognition from man, then it shows the Lord that we have truly fulfilled these acts of worship solely for His pleasure from a heart of love and gratitude.
Scripture commands that the emphasis in these areas of personal worship and devotion before the Lord be made on the importance of doing them in secrecy before God and not on the acts themselves. Doesn't this principle remind you of what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter on love? He admonishes us to carry out what we do for God from a heart of love. If we perform acts of worship for the accolades of man, not from love, Paul tells us that our worship will be in vain. Therefore, we will know that we have given, prayed, and fasted from a heart motivated by love when we do them all in secret before God.
Only God knows,
Pastor Asa Dockery