Matthew 6:18

Thy Father which is in secret…which seeth in secret - Matthew 6:18

How fondly Jesus repeats these words (Mat 6:4, Mat 6:6, Mat 6:18). Though compelled to live so much in the public gaze of men, His heart was always sighing for the secret place of fellowship with His Father, who waited for Him there.

Of course, the main object of these paragraphs was to withdraw His disciples from the excessive outwardness of the age in which He spoke, and which necessarily detracted from the singleness, directness, and simplicity of the religious life. It is impossible to perform our religious duties before men, without insensibly considering what impression we are producing, and how far their estimation of us is being enhanced. And in so far as we seek these things, the stream is contaminated with mud and silt, and becomes turbid. We have just as much religious life as we show to God in secret - just that, no less, no more. Whatever is not wrought between thee and God, with no record but His eye, is chaff which the wind driveth away.

Here is a test for our alms, our prayers, and our fasting from sin and self-indulgence. If we do any of these to maintain or increase the consideration that men have of us, they count for nothing in the eye of God. But whatever is done for Him alone will secure His inevitable notice and reward. Dwell on that very definite assurance: "Shall recompense thee." There is no doubt about it. For every petition breathed into His ear; for every sigh and tear; for every abstinence from sin and self - there will be a certain recompense, after the Divine measure. Such seeds shall have a prolific harvest. Seek then the secret place; where prying eyes cannot follow, and curious ears cannot overhear.