This may get harder…but it’s worth it!

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matt 6:1)

The word for charitable deeds here is actually “righteousness”. Jesus will go on to give examples of righteous living including-prayer, fasting, and giving.

His point is that if we do these things to be seen by others our reward is temporary and fleeting—not eternal.

Instead, Jesus says to do these things in secret. And I wonder if you’ve ever tried this? There is something incredibly rewarding about doing something good that only the Lord knows about.

I am about to tell you about such a time which seems opposite of the point here, but I hope you’ll see why.

Years ago, I was widowed and a single mom to two little boys. (You can read my story in my book, Truth to Hold on To, available on Amazon).

Being a single mom was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was exhausting and one day I caught myself comparing myself to my married friends, and feeling really sorry for myself, when I came across this very verse in Matt 6:1.

I remember thinking, “Well, what do I have to give?” and then I thought, “But, I do want to store up treasure in heaven”.

So, I took the boys and bought a few little bags of tea, lotion and some candy. We made little gift bags and secretly placed them in a few people’s mailboxes that I thought could use some encouragement.

Funny thing—I found myself the one encouraged. I also remembered the verse about when we refresh others we refresh ourselves (Prov 11:25).

What’s more, I found that doing something in simple obedience to the Lord, and for His praise alone, is indeed better than the praise of others. That one act spurred many other times of choosing the praise of God over the praise of men.

That verse also serves as a heart check for me and my ministry. I routinely ask the Lord to examine my heart motives and show me anywhere I might be compromising in this important area.

What’s more, it’s helped me walk in freedom to live my life for the audience of One.

And let me tell you living for the praise of God, rather than the praise of others, has also helped give me confidence when insults, and even threats, are hurled at me for some of the (biblical) truths I write about.

I’m convinced the days are coming when the choice between the praise of others or the praise of God will become increasingly difficult for all of us who wear the name of Christ.

I believe those who daily choose the praise of God in the ordinary will be strengthened to do so when persecution may come. And we are going to need to be the kind of people who do that. The Kingdom advances when we do that and we will find it’s eternally rewarding. ❤️



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