Give, pray, fast, and perform all sorts of righteous deeds in secret “and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:4). Jesus’s teaching on “the secret place” in his Sermon on the Mount is a source of great joy and conviction for me. Joy wells within my soul when I find myself alone and know that the heavenly Father sees me when no one else can. One of the first revelations of God in the Bible comes to Hagar when she declares that God is a God who sees (Genesis 16:13). When you are in the secret place you are with the God who sees. What an opportunity we have to walk with the Lord in the integrity of our hearts!
What we do in the secret place is the true test of a man. Do you walk with integrity? Do you do the right things when nobody is watching? Do you only do “righteous deeds” before others in order to be seen by them? If so, then you will have no reward from your true Father in heaven. In the secret place, do you perform acts of wickedness or righteousness? Do you give in to the lusts of the flesh or the life of the Spirit? What kind of man are you? Are you the same person before others as you are by yourself? Are you aware that your Father always sees you? These questions have caused conviction to stir within my heart alongside the joy of knowing God is with me. It is in the secret place, that a man rises or falls, wins or loses the battle for his soul.
The secret place is portable. It is not just the place where no one is physically around you, but it is also in your heart. When Jesus tells people to fast “in secret”, he doesn’t tell us to seclude ourselves away from people. Rather, he says to “anoint your head and wash your face” (Matthew 6:17), so that as you are interacting with people they won’t even know you are fasting. The key is your heart. Are you wanting to fast, pray, give, or do anything “good” in order for you to receive the glory and recognition from others, or are you doing these things for the sake of intimacy with your heavenly Father? Whether you are physically alone or not, you can live in the secret place before the Lord. What a beautiful reality!