The Believer and Worship
V1 – The Believer’s Relationship To God
For the believer, this relationship is the one from which all others flow. The conduct of out relationship with God must be for God to oversee and not people. When we parade our relationship with God before others, then we lose the focus of the sacredness of the Lord and concentrate on the approval of others. No man can serve two masters. This verse continues to show that the issues facing a believer are issues of the heart.
The next part of the discourse (v 2-18) deals with three further areas that have their wellspring in the heart; giving, praying and fasting.
V2-4 – The Believer’s Approach To Giving
When a believer gives it should be done in secret, again to focus on the Lord, and not on the approval of man. The motive for these people is the praise of others and not the approval of the Father who sees in secret.
V5-15 – The Believer’s Approach To Prayer
Note the wording here is ‘when you pray.’ It is an expectation from heaven that Christian walk is a prayerful walk. Prayer is the conduit between the believer and the Father, made possible through the sacrifice of Jesus. It is a vital and necessary tool in the Christian walk. Jesus warns about appearing prayerfully pious in public, yet neglecting the fellowship of the secret place. Jesus considers these people hypocrites and warns of three different errors and sins when praying.
- Praying to be heard by others (v 5-6)
- Praying mere words with empty repetition (v 7-8) See 1 Kings 18:26; Acts 19:34; Mk 14:39; 2 Cor 12:8; Ps 136; Isaiah 6:3)
- Praying with sin in the heart (v 14-15)
V16-18 – The Believer’s Approach To Fasting
The Old Testament taught about various fasts although the only fast required by law was the one on the Day of Atonement. Again, the wording says, ‘when you fast’, stipulating that it is a requirement of the Christian walk. See Joel 2:13 and Isaiah 58:5.
Fasting is to provide an avenue for God to move in a believer’s life, speaking to circumstances and attitudes.