I don’t think there’s a single person in this world who doesn’t want to be praised or complimented for something to one degree or another. It feels good when people notice our abilities or achievements. It’s nice when we get rewarded. Sometimes it makes our day when we get to spend some time in the spot light. We like to get the attention of others.
Unfortunately that can become a problem when it comes to serving God. God has called us to live a righteous life filled with good works. But there is a danger that in our righteous living and good works we can be tempted to seek the praise of others instead of the praise of God. Jesus dealt with this issue in Matthew 6:1 when He said, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” If we are trying to show off how good we are to others then God’s not happy. God didn’t make us righteous so that we could boast in ourselves. As a matter of fact, when we boast of our righteousness then we’re actually acting in unrighteousness.
Jesus gave three examples:
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:2-4)
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:5-8)
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:16-18)
While we live a righteous life for God let’s not get big headed. We aren’t worthy to be called righteous or good. The only reason any of us our righteous and good is because of the grace of God. Because He is righteous and good. Don’t show off. Don’t do things to be seen by others. In all you do do it to the glory of God. To be seen by Him. To be rewarded by Him. God wants us to be righteous and be active in good works. But God wants us to do it to His praise and glory. Remember that. Every day. To God be the glory!