Teenside Daily Devotional

Read Matthew 6:1-4.

Okay, I’m a little confused. Didn’t Jesus tell us we’re the “light of the world”? Yes, I distinctly remember Jesus saying that. Then he told us to let our light shine before others, that they may see our good works. Now, he’s telling us not to let others see us doing good works? Why does it seem like Jesus is contradicting himself?

We need to notice how Jesus phrased this teaching. He tells us to “beware”. This simply means to be cautious. But beware of what? “Beware of practicing righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them…” Oh, there it is. Jesus isn’t telling us that others can’t see us doing something good. In chapter 5, he says that’s how other people will know to give glory to God! Right here, Jesus is simply correcting the reason behind the good works. If you are intentional about serving others, or showing love to your enemies, that’s awesome! However, if you do these things to be seen by other people, then God will not reward you for them. We should have selfless intentions behind our actions towards others. Otherwise, we are no better than the wicked of this world!

Why does Jesus specify giving to the needy as his example in practicing this? I believe it is because this was the most frequent way for people to show off that they were “practicing...righteousness” in Jesus’ time. The needy would usually gather in public places, or near the gates of cities, so that they were seen by many. The more people that walked by, the better the chance that someone would give them something. However, this also made it a very easy way for people to be seen giving them money, food, or clothing. But again, why does Jesus say we must do this in secret? Isn’t it just important that we did it at all?

Jesus says these words so that we don’t fall into pride. Pride is something that isn’t satisfied with just being present in your life. It will seek to consume all of you. Recall that the devil tempts Jesus to jump off of a high place just to prove that angels will catch him. The devil is tempting Jesus to exhibit unrighteous pride. If the devil thought that it might have turned even the Son of God, then it must be powerful. Jesus knows this. That’s why he warns us here. Is it extra work to do good in secret? Yep. Is it worth it though? Most definitely!

*Take a moment to journal these questions. Write down your thoughts, questions, and concerns. Then date your entry. One of the coolest things is being able to look back and see how God came through for you.*

  1. When you choose to help people what are your intentions? List three things that you have helped someone with recently (this could be helping your parents with the dishes, giving advice to a friend, or giving up your resources to help someone in need). Search your heart: if you dug below the surface, what was your goal in each instance? Did these acts come from the goodness and overflow of your heart?

  1. What source of Pride does God want to call out in your life? To help you out, here is the definition of pride (as defined by dictionary.com– I’m not above it ;) ) Pride is a high or inordinate opinion of one's own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc. In regards to our faith this means: it can be an action or a thought, and it is a place where, because of the weight we put into this thing that “we can do on our own”, we can let it easily rise above the place we put God. So what is this thing for you? Here is a test: What things in your life are you quick to leave God out of?

  1. Lastly, where can you choose to help someone with no strings attached?

Prayer: Spend some time praying about the things you journaled. Pray that God would reveal any source of pride in your life. Ask that He would help you to humble yourself so that you can rely on Him and love people the way He intended.

Clear the Stage- Jimmy Needham

Spotify Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/169Fs68hROYRdS362T8D9w
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