01/08/19 Before Men

READING: Genesis 19-20, Matthew 6:16-7:6

Disciples do what they’re supposed to do as believers, but they don’t do it to be seen by others. That’s because true disciples of Jesus know that His name matters more than theirs.

In the Sermon on the Mount, three times Jesus cautioned His followers not to do their religious rituals for the sake of public praise. In Matthew 6:2, He told them not to “sound a trumpet” when they gave to the poor. In 6:5-8, He warned against praying to be seen – standing on the street corners and babbling long prayers. In today’s reading, He said the same about fasting: “Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so that their fasting is obvious to people” (Matt 6:16). They were to fast without being obvious, trusting that God “who is in secret” (Matt 6:18)  would reward them.

How subtle is the temptation to let others know how faithful we are! Perhaps I betray my own wicked heart here, but it’s easy to talk about our faithfulness under the cover of testimony . . . and prayer request . . . and illustration . . . and tweet . . . and even in written devotions. None of us defaults into humility, and most of us long for the recognition of others – so we find ways to seek it that still seem “Christian.”

Genuine disciples fight against this tendency – so, may God continually save us from ourselves. 

Prayer: “Please, God, keep me faithful and humble.”  

Tomorrow’s reading: Genesis 21-23, Matthew 7:7-29