Don’t self-promote: Matthew 6.1–18 (25 June 2020)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, prepare me to receive your word. Clear my mind and warm my heart. Assure me of your loving purposes for me, and speak into my life today.

Reflect

Daily reflection: Matthew 6

In the first part of Matthew 6, Jesus tells his hearers that they shouldn't make a show of their religious duties in public, but keep them between themselves and God.

He wasn't taking aim at the sort of corporate worship that's a routine part of Christian discipleship. But a rich person might donate water to passers-by, for instance, with a herald announcing loudly who was responsible for the gift. Prayer and fasting could also become competitive sports.

Jesus is very clear: it's how we stand with God that counts. A spiritual practice that draws attention to ourselves rather than being focused on God has been corrupted.

But we also want to witness to our faith. Jesus has just called his disciples the 'light of the world' and said, 'your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven' (5.16). Christians should be known as people who give, pray and practise self-denial.

However, Jesus seems to say that we shouldn't do this to impress other people, but just because it's right; and if we're in any doubt about our motives, that we should err on the side of secrecy.

In our own day, when social media means everyone can trumpet their spiritual progress, perhaps we need to be particularly careful. Are we posting something because it makes us look good, or because it glorifies Christ? If there's any doubt, perhaps we should hit 'delete' rather than 'post'.

Pray

Pray

God, give me self-knowledge and humility. Help me to realise that I don't need to impress other people, but to keep my mind and heart set on you.

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