To be noticed

November 26, 2008

By whom do I wish to be noticed?  My boss?  My co-workers?  My family?  My fiends?  My church? God?  What really is my motivation for striving toward good?  So people will like me?  So people will think I’m smart?  To live in a way that honors God?  Is it just a pretense, or is it real?  I suppose if I really did consider all of my motives, it would be mix of it all.

Jesus advised people of His day to “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.” (Matthew 6:1).  Jesus reminded me of this last year.  He helped me to realize that I really did want people to see me as one who loves Him.  It moved beyond just loving God because He totally rocks…but also because people expected it of me and applauded me for it.  That was a hard lesson to learn.

But what is “practicing your righteousness”?  What does it mean, for real?  Does it mean only the things you do in church, or when your around your church friends?  Is what you say?  Is what you think?  Is it limited to religion?  What about if it’s as pedestrian as your job, that which you put your hands to?

What if, one day, you realized that all the time and effort you put forth in “your call” was all in pursuit of man’s approval and not God’s approval?  What if you realized you were persistently pursing the thing God asked of you more than you were pursing God?  What if you sought out man’s approval for something that God has asked of you?  Then, what happens when you don’t get that approval – or it doesn’t happen the way you expect?  Augh!  Heartbreak!

I’m beginning to realize that “practicing our righteousness before men” isn’t just about religious activities – it’s about our whole life.  It’s about living for God, loving God, and working for God.  It’s about loving Him in all that we are and do.  God is faithful to His word.  When we do strive to “practice our righteousness before others”, God really can’t reward us.  It’s not that He doesn’t want to reward His kids, but He knows that it’s for our benefit that He helps to show us whose approval we’re seeking.  Man is fickle, but God is true.  Man’s opinion changes with the wind, but God’s judgement is steady.  Man may choose to approve us one day and chastize us the next.  God doesn’t want us to be tossed like the waves of the sea.  But God sees all things, knows all things, even the things hidden in darkness (meaning the things no one else can see but Him) – and He will give us praise.  That is praise will last forever.  (1 Cor 4:5).

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