"Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them, otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven."
I encourage all my readers to park in Matthew chapter six, for a week. Chapters five, six, and seven are all Jesus speaking to us, His disciples. We need to allow Him to define to us how to follow Him, one on one, alone with His Word. The Holy Spirit will teach you purely from His mouth. You can only achieve this in the secret place alone with Him. We all must come to a place in our lives where we concentrate on how we live privately more than publicly. We must truly spend more time alone with Him than we do any other if we want to fulfill His purpose for each of our lives. We must live our lives in obedience, rather than performance and self efforts. He must be leading and giving directions for us to follow. We cannot allow our flesh to be the motivation of our actions. We must live surrendered lives seeking His approval more than each other’s. We must stop long enough to discern the motives of our heart behind our actions. We know from scripture Jesus will judge not only the works, but the motives behind our actions.
Let us ask ourselves if we are living a life seeking more to be noticed by each other, or to please God? Are we seeking our rewards in this present life, or the eternal life? If we live to be noticed and applauded by men now, hear what Jesus states plainly — you will have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. We can’t have it both ways. The flesh is always self seeking rather than God seeking. Ultimately, our goal is to be motivated simply by our love for God more than ourselves. The only way this can be achieved is to spend more time allowing Him to reveal His love for you to you. The more you know God’s love for you personally, the more you will love Him. This requires intimate time alone with Him.
Jesus continues in verse two:
"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you."
Isn’t is interesting how Jesus emphasizes giving in secret reveals who we are living for! If done in secret we are living for an audience of One — the One. We know He always sees and hears what we do in secret. We know we will be rewarded by Him, or do we?
This is in total contrast to the society we have evolved into with social media. It has created a stage for all of us to perform on for each other. It is a performance on the stage we choose. It lacks reality and honesty. It is a spotlight of hypocrisy. What if we put on Facebook how we react in the real world for a week? The lives lived more publicly than privately before the Lord is a self made prison of performance never getting an applause that satisfies, but creating more pressure for more performance.
Let’s stop long enough to ponder why we value others’ opinions more than the One who created us? He is not a man that He can lie. He is a perfect God of love and truth. He despises superficial pretension and so must we, in order to have real honest loving relationships. Real friends love us with all our imperfections and when we are not on top of the world looking down on everyone else.
Jesus continues in verses five through eight:
"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues, and on the street corners, so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them, for your Father knows what you have need of before you ask Him."
Isn’t it wonderful to read the Words of Jesus! He exposes the motives for their hypocrisy; they long to be seen by men. Aren’t we all that way left to ourselves? But if we want to follow Him we must reject our sinful nature for His. He declares again that if we choose to exploit our lives to be rewarded here we have already received our reward from men rather than from our Heavenly Father.
God is pleased with things done in secrecy. We most often think of the bad people do in secrecy, but Jesus is making it clear He values the good we do in secret and promises to reward all we do when no one else notices .
Many serve not getting recognition in this life. Most are not deterred by other’s responses who truly are followers of Christ. His opinion and pleasing Him far outweighs the fickle flattery of men. We do have a righteous Judge that does see all. The small acts of obedience will get great reward from our Father. His value system isn’t according to man. We must seek the things God values more than what man does. What the world considers small, God considers great. He is the God who sees, hears, and knows all things. His reward system is just and perfect. I take great comfort in knowing that, and hope you can too.
It is a painful life if we never get free from seeking our needs to be met by one another rather than the God who made us. His plan for our lives are far superior to anything or anyone we can seek to serve other than Him. Only He can meet the deep desire for love He created in each one of us. It wasn’t meant to be filled by anyone but Him, even in a marriage. He desires for us to learn how to love one another from Him. He is our source for perfected love. Let us all hear the voice of Jesus this morning as we read His Words, and let us make a choice to obey Him, and live for Him above all else that we might receive our eternal rewards from Him.
In His love.
We were very blessed to come together as a family to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas at the Roberts Christmas Gathering.