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Mission Devotional - August 25, 2016

Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, who sees what is done in secret, help my secret life to always glorify you in every way. Amen.

Scripture: Matthew 6:1-6,16-18

Journal: What does your secret life look like? Who are you when no one is looking? Is your secret life more intimate with God, or is your public life? Why?

Reflection: "Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:4, 6, 18) It is a phrase that Jesus repeats three times in 18 verses. Therefore, it must be pretty significant. And each repetition is connected with a particular practice of the faith that is intended to cultivate our life and intimacy with God. Unfortunately, they are also practices that, when made public, can make us look like we are more intimate with God than we really are - which then becomes our motivation. It's like someone who talks so much about how intimate their relationship is with their spouse that you get a sense that they are trying really hard to convince you of something that, in reality, just isn't true. The Pharisees were like that, and it drove Jesus crazy.
So why is God so insistent on secrecy? There are lots of reasons, I'm sure. But I think one of the main reasons is because secrecy is the best soil for true intimacy to grow. Intimacy is not something that can be broadcast without losing its essence. It requires authenticity; play acting is not allowed. If we are not real how can we ever hope for true intimacy with anyone, much less God? Secrecy is that space where we are able to be our true selves, and to offer those true selves to God. Secrecy is that space where we are not concerned with perception, or impression, or applause, but can seek the attention and affection of God alone. It is the space of true transformation.

Prayer for the church, for others, for myself

Sybil Baloyi lives in Mozambique and runs a preschool for orphaned and vulnerable children. Pray today for the vision that Sybil and her team have to add one new grade every year to the Hlauleka Christian Primary School through grade seven. Pray for Sybil today as she faithfully serves the children of her community.

Knoxville Area Rescue Mission (KARM) provides emergency shelter and food to homeless men and women and offers recovery for those seeking a way out of drug and alcohol abuse. Pray today for all of the homeless who will walk through the doors of KARM this week that they will embrace the hope of Jesus in their lives.

Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, cultivate within me this wonderfully intimate secret life with you, where I am concerned only with your approval and affection. Amen.