“Your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you...” - Matthew 6:4
Yesterday, we talked about fighting against hypocrisy in our lives and what steps we need to take in order to win that battle. The first step we discussed was that you must be holy in your private life. If you missed yesterday’s devotional, I’d encourage you to go back and read it. But for now, we are going to look at two more steps we can take to fight against hypocrisy.
The second step is to be humble in your public life. Pharisees had a reputation for not just being great teachers, prophets, and practitioners, but great prayers. They knew how to put on a show. They would stretch out their hands with their palms upward, with their head bowed, and they would give the speech of a lifetime, as loud as they could, standing on the most crowded street corner so people could hear them, see them, and brag on how close they must be to God.
I want to confess something. Nothing irritates me more than people who pray long prayers in public, because I know what they are doing most of the time. They are catching up on their prayer life at our expense. It was Charles Spurgeon who said, “Let your public prayers be brief. Let your private prayers be as long as you want.” This advice is what we should all take to heart if we want to be humble in our public life.
The third step you must take to win the battle against hypocrisy is to be honorable in your personal life. We want to do everything we can to be a stepping-stone to Jesus, not a stumbling block. There is something we must remember that Jesus repeats three times in Matthew 6. He says it in verse 4, verse 6, and verse 18. Here is the firewall that will guard against hypocrisy.
“Your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you...” (Matthew 6:4, 6,18).
The single most important part of your life is the part that God sees when no one else is looking. I love the way someone put it, “The theology that matters is not the theology we profess, but the theology we practice.”
The only honor we should be seeking is God’s honor. The only glory we should be seeking is God’s glory. The only praise we should ever worry about is God’s praise. In order to achieve that, you can’t be a phony. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Make up your mind on what you truly believe, not just what you say you believe and then behave what you believe. Be what you need to be in private, then you will be who you need to be in public.
Dear Lord, I want every aspect of my life to honor you, and I want honoring you to be my only goal. I don’t want to live desperate for the praise of others. I don’t want to constantly be seeking attention and affirmation. I want to please and glorify you and you alone. Help me to stay focused on that goal, especially when I’m tempted to live in a selfish and self-glorifying way. In Jesus’ name, amen.