Pardon Me ~Your Humility is Showing


BraggingArrogance and showmanship – in the form of self-righteousness – annoy God. On the other hand, we who are Christ followers are told to be bold and bright – letting the light within us shine in such a way that it will be seen by everyone.

We’ve all cringed a bit when people seem to boast about the enormous amounts of time they spend on their knees in prayer, and how they’ve worn out their Bible (make that “Bibles”) from constant use. We find ourselves feeling a bit annoyed by this display of piety. Yet haven’t most of us boasted in similar ways?

In the 6th chapter of Matthew, here’s what Jesus teaches: “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. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

And here’s what he teaches us about prayer (also in the 6th chapter of Matthew): “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. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Yet earlier, in the 5th chapter of Matthew, Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

From my perspective, the decision about whether or not to “make my good deeds known” is a matter of the motivation of my heart. Here’s the question I must continually ask myself: “Is what I’m about to say for God’s glory…or for my glory?” I can tell the difference—usually. And I believe the ultimate “test” of my motivation is exposed in the response of other authentic Christians. (I specify other authentic Christians because anytime we open our mouth we are at risk of being misperceived by people who “project” their own self-righteous flaws onto us.)

The Bible does not tell us to avoid practicing our righteousness before others. Rather, we are told to not practice our righteousness—or to pray—to be seen by others. Which brings us back to the motivation of our heart. “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. ~ Matthew 6.1

Praying or reading your Bible in a public place, such as a restaurant, may be a display of self-righteousness. Or, it may be an act of genuine gratitude for God’s Word and his provision. It’s a matter of one’s heart motivation.

I believe we need to be bold in our Lord. I believe we need to be “out there” proclaiming the good news of what he has done – and is doing – in our lives, and what he will do in the lives of others who will humbly receive his gift of Life. And when we boast, we must be reminded to “boast in the Lord.” ~1 Cor 1.31

Let us be continually checking our motives, and asking God to search our hearts, and expose anything within us that distracts others from the glory of our God.

We are his servants, and we are honored to have been invited to serve the King of kings and Lord of lords by serving his people—boldly…and for HIS glory!

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