“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven…. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:1&5
In the world and culture of today’s man, it is nearly impossible to escape unnoticed by those around us. We leave digital fingerprints, call histories and money trails. We keep giving records for tax purposes. Any conversation in our digital world is likely stored on a server forever. About leaving an impression, it takes more work to fly under the radar than it does to impress upon this world. While leaving a wake of evidence behind us, Jesus goes right to the heart of this danger to men: be careful of your motive. How a man thinks about being seen is important to God.
The religious leaders of the day were in a position to be seen. Being in the spotlight is sometimes unavoidable. But it was not because of their visibility that Jesus issued a warning; it was because of their heart. No one who follows God would think that practicing right living is a bad thing. But if our motive is to be seen by others, our heart behind the practice is in the wrong place. Notice what Jesus says about the hypocrites. They “love” to be seen by others. Their reward is the pleasure of approval from other men.
As you seek to act like God’s man, take the time to evaluate why you’re doing so. Consider what Jesus is concerned with when He speaks in this teachable moment to His disciples. The heart of His disciple must be living rightly with the correct motive. Be less thoughtful of how accurate your religious practices are and more mindful of why you act.
DO THIS TODAY: Take a moment to pray or give in a way that only God can see.