1“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.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-4)
Yesterday we saw the high expectations set in the Bible – nothing less than perfection (“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”). This certainly reinforces the need for a savior and the meaning of grace. (Hebrews 10:14 says: For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.)
Today we will consider the correct motivation for following biblical standards. We will continue to use the Sermon on the Mount to provide excellent insights into what Jesus thought about the Bible and also what He thought about how some people interpreted the Bible.
Today’s passage is from Matthew 6 verses 1 – 4 (please see above). Please prayerfully read and reflect on the passage and answer the questions below.
- As we seek to practice God’s instructions, how would you describe the motivation that Jesus finds acceptable?
- Earlier in Matthew (chapter 5 verse 16) Jesus says “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” So, what is he warning about in this passage?
February 18, 2016 at 10:37 am
Conceit, vainglory. self righteousness and selfish ambition … these are the motivations Jesus is warning us about. They are weeds in the heart of the man that needs to be pulled daily least they darken our hearts and minds.
Christians have been commanded to do good works. Indeed God Almighty has prepared good works for us beforehand. (Eph 2:10). Christians are to be a beacon in a darkened world by virtue of these good works. Because true Christians are the light of the world. A city that is built on a hill cannot be hid (see Matthew 5:14).
Its more than a nuance. Substance over form is the best way that I can articulate it.
February 18, 2016 at 2:46 pm
It is one of purity of heart and mind where we are not seeking praise from people when we do good deeds, but rather to do our good works to glorify GOD and GOD ALONE. He does not want anyone to take His glory as ALL glory belongs to Him.
The warning is that WE DO NOT TAKE GOD’S GLORY. Even when people praise us for what we do, we should give GOD the glory! Very often when people take the glory for themselves, God has to dethrone them so they can go and eat grass, be like a beast of the field , and act like a donkey until they humble themselves and repent until He restores them.
February 18, 2016 at 5:45 pm
I think Jesus expects our motivations to be more altruistic than they usually are. They should be for His glory, not our own. We should want to follow His word not because it benefits us, but because of His grace and love.
In this way, God wants us to be humble in the way we show glory to Him. We cannot fully give Him praise in our actions when they are self-serving.
(It is interesting that the topic of giving and helping is shown as an example of this. Oftentimes we do good deeds, but are they always altruistic, or because they make us feel better about ourselves? Are our good deeds then worth less?)
February 18, 2016 at 7:52 pm
Jesus was motivated by accomplishing God’s perfect will. He did what he knew would please His Father. As His disciples we should do things that would glorify God as well. Living our lives to hear well done good and faithful servant.
The warning would be to live lives that would glorify God and not ourselves. Our action should point only to God so that we would get no praise. Not sharing in His glory.
February 18, 2016 at 9:56 pm
Thanks again for your comments. From what you have shared a clear message emerges: Jesus wants us to show up as believers (for God’s glory), but He doesn’t want us to show off (for our own glory).
February 19, 2016 at 4:10 am
All comments were encouraging. This topic is a good reminder to all of us. After all, God knows our heart. He can see our motives, intentions, and He sure knows if all that we’re doing is only for our own glory. As a believer it is a privilege to live for the glory of God. His abundant blessings will overflow in us if our actions are focused on our true and loving God.
February 19, 2016 at 5:58 am