What is true spirituality?
As I think of the various ways in which spirituality has been taught from the pulpit, I see there is a common thread. True spirituality is often portrayed as being something which is highly visible. In other words – we are to seek to be seen. We are to be seen as anointed and filled with power. We are to be seen as being generous and kind. We are to be seen as abstaining from evil. Now to be sure, Jesus says in Matt 5 that we are to let our light shine, that others may see our good deeds and glorify God. However, this can lead us to mistake the pursuit of being seen to be spiritual rather than simply being spiritual. Very often evangelicals talk about ‘their witness’, we need to ‘guard our witness’, and always be aware that our lives are being observed by unbelievers. However, we need to watch we don’t end up living our lives to impress others instead of living to impress God. Jesus gives us the key to true spirituality in Matt 6: true spirituality is secret spirituality!
Jesus tells us to give in secret:
“Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them: else ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”
Jesus tells us to pray in secret:
“Pray to thy Father who is in secret.”
Jesus tells us to fast in secret:
“Ye shall not be as the hypocrites.”
In other words, don’t make a show out of our religiosity. If we are fasting, don’t broadcast it, if we are praying, do so secretly, if we are giving– keep it low key.
Jesus also tells us not to try and put on a show for God:
“And in praying use not vain repetitions . . . they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.”
How do we get God to hear us? By simplicity, secrecy and sincerity.
“That thou be not seen of men to fast, but of thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall recompense thee.”
God rewards those who seek him and serve him, secretly.