Private Practices

We continue to concentrate on the radical teaching of Jesus Christ concerning His kingdom, recorded in what is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount.  Some have referred to this as His Kingdom Manifesto.  Initially, in the Beatitudes, Jesus challenges us with a total transformation of our thinking, reversing the values of the present culture with regard to power, recognition, status, and wealth. This kind of thinking becomes the foundation for a whole new order of living.

Transformed thinking will provoke spiritually energized practices, enabling us to acclimate to advanced kingdom-living.  Jesus identifies three of these disciplines: praying, fasting, and showing generosity to those in need. He then proceeds to tell how they can be counterproductive and corrupted if they are displayed as stiff traditions or showy performances.

A language of secrecy resonates with the entire message of Jesus.  His kingdom is nothing in the way of show, volume, hype, or spectacle.  It is understated and behind the scenes.  When done in private, these disciplines become potent practices. Prayer is a defiant act of resistance against the prideful pursuit of dominance.  It leads us to seek forgiveness and reconciliation, not retaliation and revenge.  Fasting is a revolt against the domineering impulses of physical gratification.  These sensual appetites are no longer our slave driver.  Giving to the poor liberates us from enslavement to money.  It helps us to diminish and then to destroy greed.  What would happen in our outer world if more of us were to practice these things in our inner world?