November 17, 2016
Read: Matthew 6:1–6
Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 5–7; Hebrews 12
Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.—Matthew 6:4 nlt
Kerri tries hard to get people to admire her. She acts happy most of the time so that others will notice and compliment her on her joyful attitude. Some affirm her because they see her helping people in the community. But in a transparent moment Kerri will admit, "I love the Lord, but in some ways I feel like my life is a façade." Her own sense of insecurity is behind much of her effort of trying to look good to others, and she says she’s running out of energy to keep it up.
We can probably all relate in some way because it’s not possible to have perfect motives. We love the Lord and others, but our motives for how we live the Christian life are sometimes mixed with our desire to be valued or praised.
Jesus talked about those who give, pray, and fast in order to be seen (Matt. 6:1-18). He taught in the Sermon on the Mount to “give your gifts in private,” to “pray to your Father in private,” and “when you fast, don't make it obvious” (vv. 4, 6, 16 nlt).
Serving is most often done publicly, but maybe a little anonymous service could help us learn to rest in God’s opinion of us. He who created us in His image values us so much that He gave us His Son and shows us His love each day. —Anne Cetas
Dear Lord, please forgive me for desiring praise from others more than from You. Please help me as I struggle to keep my motives pure.
Our desire to please God should be our highest motive for obeying God.
INSIGHT: In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5-7), Jesus issues a warning about hypocrisy (6:1-8). After His strong caution against it, He gives us the proper motivation. Our reason to share with open hands, to raise our hands in prayer, and to fold them before an empty plate is both stated and implied. When we do these things, we do them out of love for the Father, the source of all good, knowing He will bless our efforts. The implication is fairly clear. The approval of the Father is better than any praise we may receive from friends and neighbors. It is the reward from Him that we should truly and deeply want. J.R. Hudberg
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