Matthew 6 just simply destroys us! A dangerous truth is unearthed and uncovered. And it needs to be. Left unexposed it will kill us. The mask needs to come off. The lying needs to cease. Honesty about what is hidden inside of us is necessary. Our edited version is not the best product. We are not for sale.
Should we be practicing righteousness? Sure. But to be noticed by others? Absolutely not. Motive matters.
But it’s not that simple. Why? Because a battle rages within us and we have an enemy who likes to make suggestions for motives. They appeal to our fleshly desires. They are often very simple things. We usually do not get caught up in the difficult matters. Satan would have you know for certain how you have messed up. The more simple the act, the more guilt and pain accompany it.
Take for example the temptations of Jesus. Bread, jumping off a building, and bowing down to worship. If the bread had been sitting on a platter in the desert and Satan had said nothing, then no harm in eating it. The conditions to get the bread matter. It is just bread. And Jesus is hungry. That’s a very simple temptation.
If Jesus would have slipped off the roof of the temple or had been pushed that’s different. Throwing yourself off is not trusting God but testing God.
Psalm 2 says the nations are the Messiah’s. But the path for that inheritance is not simple and quick. Jesus knows that. But the enemy would have him avoid the pain and suffering. Indeed, that’s very tempting.
I merely point these out for their simplicity in nature. We will lie about the smallest of things. And if we will lie about the least then we will most certainly lie about the greater things.
It’s easy for our outward appearance to be much different than our inward self. That’s why Isaiah points out that our mouth can sing praises to God while our hearts are far from worship of God.
Should you give to the poor? Yes. Does the world need to know about your generosity? No. Why do they need to know? Oh, I know…if they discover someone in need they will know who to contact? Is that a good thing? Yes, in a way but not exactly. Maybe you didn’t intent to be honored but that’s what happened. Yet, when you were honored, it tasted really good. Then you not only allow others to make known that you are available to help, you now promote yourself. But….I helped more people. You have your reward.
The enemy will suggest the simple and easy. It will sound sooooo right…but only in part. And when you do it, he will either patiently wad you in deeper or he will drown you in guilt and shame. The very thing he suggested, he will now say you shouldn’t have done.
But he would have you think there is no way out. If you go public with it, you will be ___________…you fill in the blank. I’m certain that you could spill much ink on what the immediate consequences might be or even will be. Just make sure you know there are eternal consequences that outweigh the immediate shame.
The way out is repentance. Repentance will involve confession to God and to those you have harmed. Confession doesn’t include excuses. It is humble and honest. It’s the place where the inward self goes public. In relation to God, He already knows but expects you to say specifically what it is. And He most certainly forgives without question. People, however, are often far different. We become afraid even though we should be far more fearful of God. It’s just really hard for us…but know it is very possible by the aid of the Holy Spirit and the truth to get it right.
I should have said this early in the post but it comes to mind now. I can recall numerous times that while on the way to do a particular thing, the enemy suggested/tempted me with a wrong motive. I had not thought of it beforehand. But now it’s in my mind. What will I do with it?
Honestly, I don’t always respond the same way. Sometimes I am able to put that temptation to death and proceed with the right action. Other times I decide the risk is too high for me. I don’t always get it right. Indeed, the difficulty of navigating those decisions takes maturity. The process of maturing will involve many failures.
This reminds me of this: (Heb. 5:14) But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.
Immaturity leads to danger. Motive matters. Discernment comes with knowing the truth. I used to listen to a lot of different voices (inside and out) until I could say to them, no. God’s word says so and so about that. That’s not true. I know what will happen if I do that. So, no.
Well, these are some thoughts of a struggler who, by God’s grace, has made progress. And I had not thought about those dark days early on in my walk with Jesus until today. I had not remembered from where I had come. But thanks be to God, I am what I am by the grace of God. I’m not who I once was. I’m not who I want to be. But by His grace I am what I am. Press on, dear brothers and sisters. Don’t give in or give up. I see Jesus just over the horizon. He is worth the wait.