Submerge Yourself in Secrecy

Photo by Hans Eiskonen on Unsplash

Recently I have been considering the process of obscurity, which is the practice of putting yourself out of focus from the large picture of life. If God is the creator of the world, we are meant to be obscure, out of vision from him because we are the part that is created. A subcategory of this is the ancient art of secrecy, which simply put means to “do awesome things and not tell anyone about it,” to quote John Mark Comer. A simple way to submerge yourself into obscurity is to practice righteousness in secret.

As I reflected on Jesus’ teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, I noticed a theme in three consequent passages in Matthew 6. That theme is secrecy. In explaining righteous practices for walking with God, he shares wisdom concerning giving, prayer, and fasting.

Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men,” Jesus says in Matthew, “to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven…But when you give to the needy, do not left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (6:1,3–4)

“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 men….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” (6:5a,6).

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting…But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men 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” (6:16,18)

Through each teaching, the progression that Jesus follows is simple: do not follow this example of unrighteousness, live by this rule. Through that rule of secrecy, of doing the right and noble thing without eyes watching you, you will be rewarded in heaven. I love seeing the development of each passage, and how we all can so easily be a hypocrite and stand in front of others to be seen doing what is right. But as followers of Jesus, our goal is always to point others to the reward that he brings, not the greatness of our own small victories.

Think through the acts of righteousness that are either already entwined in your life or are commanded to be done in your life. Consider how you can practice them alone, because in wholeheartedly pursuing it, you will find that you are not alone. Remind yourself that your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

I still remember my dad teaching me it means to be a man through an acronym called R.A.L.E. The E in it means to “expect a greater reward.” It was always a strange thought for me, but as time went on, I understood it. We will not always receive the recognition we desire or maybe at times, deserve from others. But God commands us to do what is right, no matter who is watching or around, and as followers of him we know that we will be rewarded greater in heaven one day. Earth is not our home, and if we look to the world beyond it, we can expect a greater reward in eternity. Whether you only need to be a bit more obscure or you need to submerge yourself into acts of secrecy for hours a day, we must always remind ourselves to be to the side of the picture, not in the center of it.

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Paul Keefer

Paul Keefer

Writer, teacher, and lifetime kid. I post an article every Monday morning on self-improvement and inspiration. Check out my writing and book @ paul-keefer.com