by Dr Kirsten Due
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When you pray, don’t be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward (Matthew 6:5).
Read Matthew 6:1–6, 16–21
Who would have thought the Bible knew anything about social media? The God of the Bible knows about the human heart – about posing for Instagram and air-brushing pictures for Facebook. In today’s passage, we read that people in Jesus’ day were posers, too. When we pose for the audience, we already have our reward.
There is something addictive about knowing that someone knows you are doing a good thing, especially if it looks like you don’t want them to know! How glad we are when it just slips out, and we are seen in a good light. It boils down to our desire to be worshipped. We want to be loved, accepted, valued. We want our bodies to be adored, our actions to be commended and our kids to win awards.
God’s word tells us about a different way – a private way of being before God.
Every time we say the Lord’s prayer, we pray, ‘Your kingdom come’. God’s kingdom is his reign and rule. What does that mean in a fallen world except that our fallenness is undone by the presence of our Redeemer? Unless God sets us free to worship (honour) him, we seek to be honoured in the eyes of others, or honour others instead of God; all in a vain attempt to reinvent ourselves.
Our hearts are not fulfilled until they are filled by him. Anything else leaves us empty. When we see that his kingdom has come, we have no desire for the foolish things that we once needed. We can laugh at our frailties and imperfections. We can spend time alone before God – being the children of God and doing the things of God without needing an audience to applaud us.
Dear Father, teach us the truths of your kingdom. Our righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees. We have nothing to boast of before anyone – especially not before you. But you are our righteousness. You have begun to reign and by your presence as Redeemer, you have undone our fallenness. May your kingdom come. Amen
Dr Kirsten Due lives in Darwin with her husband, Noel, who is currently serving in the Top End Lutheran Parish. She has a postgraduate degree in psychology and is a doctor of medicine, currently engaged in remote area work in the Top End. She has written a book of children’s gospel stories (Bearen Bear and the Bunbury Tales) with a commendation by Andrew McDonough.