Matthew 6



Matthew 6:1

“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.”

Observation – What does it say?

Jesus, continuing his delivery of the most famous sermon of all time, teaches the crowd about the importance of our motives. Whether we are giving to the needy, praying or fasting, our motive directly determines our reward.

Understanding – What does it mean?

Any reward for obedience that God has for us is lost when we do it for others to see.

It seems many Pharisees wanted to appear godly more than they actually wanted to be godly. Because it was all about what other people thought of them, they would be sure to let everyone know when they gave to the poor, they prayed on the busy street corners, and they would make themselves look terrible when they fasted just so others would notice and think they were spiritual.
Jesus condemned this behavior. He said, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.” To put it in the positive, “Go out of your way to make sure that the only one who sees the good you’re doing is God.” Then, you will know that your motive is right and your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.

Life Application

Be careful to practice righteousness in secret.

Would you rather have a pat on the back from people or a reward from God? I don’t know what the reward from God will be, but I’m pretty sure it’s better than any compliment or pat on the back from someone else.

God, forgive me for the times I’ve desired the praise from people more than from you. Forgive me for the times I’ve mentioned gifts I’ve given people, prayer times I’ve had and times I’ve fasted, with the desire for people to perceive me in a certain way. Help us to be people who always live for your approval alone! Help us to be careful not to do good to be noticed by others, but to be noticed by you. Thank you for the rewards you have in store! Next time we’re tempted to share about how great we think we are, remind us of the rewards we can have from you instead if we keep it between us. Amen.

– Levi Thompson


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