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Matthew 6.1-18 – Let’s get sneaky

(6.1) As you live out the Triune goodness in your life, beware the temptation to use it to impress people.  If love is a means to some other end, it is not love. (2) If ulterior motives are intruding into your attempts at love, try exercising the discipline of secrecy. For example, when you give to the poor, don’t publicize it. If you do it for publicity, publicity is all you’ll get.  You want more than that; you want to share in the Triune life of self-giving love. (3) So when you give to the poor, be sneaky about it.  Try to make it so nobody knows but you and Papa. (4) As this practice of secrecy kills off your ulterior motives, you will become more able to experience the joy of giving.

(5) If you want to impress people with your spiritual skills, just find a stage and perform a prayer on it.  It really works, if that is indeed what you want.  (6) But you want something more—real sharing in the eternal Triune conversation.  If your desire to impress people is poisoning your prayer life, try praying in private behind a closed door, where those ulterior motives won’t get in the way.  (7) And remember, our relationship with Papa is not magic.  There are no magic words or phrases that you need to use in order to make it ‘work.’  Long prayers are no better than short ones, and vice versa. (8) Don’t be like that.  Papa knows what you need even before you ask.

(9) … What?…You want me to teach you how to pray?…Okay, it’s REALLY complicated.  Watch this:

Hi, Papa.  We’re so happy you’re the one who’s running things.  You are wonderful to us; nothing compares to you. (10) More than anything else, we long for the day when the whole world will know you fully and happily work at your side. (11) But in the meantime, take care of our needs today. (12) Help us to share in your cheerful love for us and for everyone, despite the bad choices we will all make today. (13) Help us to respond wisely to today’s little trials, so that they won’t grow into big trials for tomorrow.  Help us to not believe lies today.

(14) Papa’s forgiveness is a funny thing: we receive it by giving it away to others. (15) When you refuse to give forgiveness to others, you are refusing to receive it from Papa. Not a real shrewd move.

(16) Anyway, back to the thing about secrecy… When you fast, don’t advertise what you’re doing.  That will work if you want to build a reputation as a ‘spiritual person,’ but that’s all you’ll get. (17) Instead, try being an undercover faster.  Wash your face and do your hair, (18) so it won’t be obvious you’re fasting.  The secrecy will kill off your ulterior motives, so that they won’t get in the way as you learn to live on Something other than bread alone.


6 Responses

  1. this is heresy and blasphemous in one.

  2. Doesn’t it depend on your definition of heresy? I believe heresy should be defined as anything that contradicts the Nicene Creed or the Chalcedon Definition. I don’t think you can say that heresy is anything that contradicts the Bible because every Christian tradition has its own interpretation of the Bible. What all Christian traditions agree on, though, is the way the early Christians interpreted the Bible to create the doctrine of the Trinity expressed at Nicea and the doctrine of the Incarnation expressed at Chalcedon. With that “mere” Christianity as our basis (as C.S. Lewis called it) we can find a common definition of heresy. And by that common definition The Shack Bible project could be called many things – including offensive to many of the cherished, man-made traditions of modern Evangelicalism – but it is not heretical.

  3. Are you serious??? Are you not capable of realizing that in essence all John did was take good old fashioned KJ verses like Matthew 6 and make them understandable to the general public.
    I would be curious to hear what you find to be “heresy” concerning this particular post.
    BTW……I visited your profile and found many of your comments to be lacking in substance. As a co-heir in The Kingdom of God, are we not called to give account to our Faith in accordance with 1 Peter 3:15 and Proverbs 22:21? If my friend John is in error as you claim, please be gracious enough to point it out to him , (as a fellow believer).

  4. The thing is, this is one of my LEAST offensive posts. Maybe this is just the first one Quentin saw, and he just REALLY REALLY hates the Shack.

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