When you take a look at your life today – your relationships, your responsibilities, your emotional state – what does it look like to obey God?
I imagine a parent asking their child to clean their room, do their homework, or take out the trash. After hearing the command, the child is expected to obey by doing. They stop what they are doing, leave their current situation, and follow through with the task assigned to them. If the child doesn’t do what is asked, it is considered disobedience.
Many times, we think that to obey is to do something physical, tangible, visible. God tells us to honor our parents, so we help them with tasks. God tells us to love our neighbors, so we give them a card during Christmas. God tells us to live in unity, so we meet with other Christians at church or a Bible study group. But could obedience be invisible? Could it mean not doing something? Could it mean staying where we are and simply being present?
In today’s passage, Jesus confronts our perception of true obedience. At the beginning of the chapter, he calls out those who draw attention to themselves when they give to the needy. In verse 5-7, he calls out those who make a spectacle of praying in public. Jesus wants us to know that beyond our physical acts of obedience, he sees our hearts. In fact, in verses 4, 6, and 18, he says the Father will reward you for acts of obedience that nobody else sees.
Prayer is a powerful act of quiet obedience. You do not always need to physically go into a private room or bow your head and close your eyes in order to obey God’s command to pray (though it can be helpful to pray that way)! Simply begin talking to your heavenly Father. Ask him to show you the way forward.
When you are faced with a difficult decision to make or you find yourself in a conflict, instead of jumping to potential solutions or your list of pros and cons, pray this way:
My Father in heaven, will you honor your name? Will you move in my circumstances and show me your will? I want your will to be done. I admit I don’t always know what to do. Forgive me when I lean on my own understanding. Holy Spirit, I trust you to make your glory known in my situation. Show me and guide me today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Throughout This Day: As you have short moments of rest between your tasks and responsibilities today, ask God to honor his name in your life. Bring your concerns and worries to him and he will make your burden light (Matthew 11:28-30).
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