Daily Riches: Giving Up the Need to Be Noticed (Dallas Willard)

“In the practice of secrecy, we experience a continuing relationship with God independent of the opinions of others.  …One of the greatest fallacies of our faith, and actually one of greatest acts of unbelief, is the thought that our spiritual acts and virtues need to be advertised to be known. The frantic efforts of religious personages and groups to advertise and certify themselves is a stunning revelation of their lack of substance and faith. Jesus, surely with some humor, remarked that a city set on a hill cannot be hid (Matt. 5:14). I would not like to have the task of hiding Jerusalem, or Paris, or even Baltimore. The Gospel stories tell us how hard Jesus and his friends tried to avoid crowds and how badly they failed. Quite candidly, if it is possible for our faith and works to be hidden, perhaps that only shows they are of a kind that should be hidden. We might, in that case, think about directing our efforts toward the cultivation of a faith that is impossible to hide (Mark 7:24). Secrecy rightly practiced enables us to place our public relations department entirely in the hands of God, who lit our candles so we could be the light of the world, not so we could hide under a bushel (Matt. 5:14-16). We allow him to decide when our deeds will be known and when our light will be noticed.” Dallas Willard

“… let your light shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
 …Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.
Matthew 5:16, 6:1

Moving From Head to Heart

  • The exact same activity can be good or bad depending on the motivation – to enhance God’s reputation, or your reputation or that of your ministry. Are you sensitive to this dynamic?
  • Have you prayerfully considered why you do what you do – devotions, acts of service, sacrifices for others, spiritual disciplines, impressive ministry?
  • If you take what is personal and intimate in your life with God and use it to promote yourself, you change it. Can you “place your public relations department entirely in the hands of God”, focusing on his approval – leaving the rest to him?


For More: The Spirit of the Disciplines by Dallas Willard


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