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Posts Tagged ‘hypocrites’

Live Selflessly

February 21st, 2014

“Let your good works shine out for all to see.” Matthew 5:16 NLT.

Love neither notice nor credit from men; both are addictive and destructive.

My thoughts and comments today are that you “live selflessly.”

How you live everyday is important; why you live the way you choose to live is even more important. Summing up the eight character qualities of the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12), Jesus described the uniqueness of those who exemplify the Kingdom of God as being, “the salt of the earth and light of the world.” Matthew 5:13-16. Salt and light have distinctive purposes, only of use and value when fulfilling their purposes – an appropriate metaphor for us and our use and value to the Kingdom of God on earth. A Godly life offers an enticing flavor to the blandness of life apart from Christ and brilliant illumination dispelling the darkness in which others live.

Jesus said, “In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16 NLT. Your life and mine are unique only when accomplishing the eternal purpose for which God intends. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so that we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10 NLT. It is important that you understand the measurement by which your life succeeds. Your purpose is always for, “all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.” The first part becomes irrelevant if the latter part doesn’t occur. In an exemplary life, God is the One who is seen and praised.

If your motive is to be seen and praised by men, every effort remains inconsequential. “In Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12 NIV. A meaningful and satisfying life is lived, “for the praise of His glory.” Love neither notice nor credit from men; both are addictive and destructive.

I remember my Dad often quoting, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” (Harry Truman, 33rd president of the US 1884-1972). That is very true. “Having your conduct honorable among [others], that . . they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God . .” 1 Peter 2:12 NKJV. Your most successful achievements might well be the most noble, while you serve merely for His pleasure. But know this, nothing done in His name and for His glory will go unnoticed or unrewarded. “Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.” 1 Timothy 6:18-19 NKJV.

Jesus had strong words about doing even the right things for the wrong reasons – to be seen of men. Matthew 23:5 NKJV. When the Pharisees gave, they did so for the applause of others; they prayed where others would hear and admire. Read Matthew 6:1-6 NIV. For their efforts, they received no reward from God. You live selflessly when you live for the applause and approval of One. See Colossians 1:9-14 NIV. This is a practical way that we can help ourselves and one another: “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.” Hebrews 10:24 NLT. Any outbursts lately?

My prayer for you today is that all you do is done in love and sincerity.

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Superficiality

November 15th, 2013

“The Lord searches every heart and understands every motive.”  1 Chronicles 28:9 NIV.

A superficial life is ultimately unsatisfying.

My thoughts and comments today are about “superficiality.”

Often, people give much time and attention to outward appearances while sorely neglecting their inner life. Lives are contentedly occupied with shallow acquaintances while inattentive to meaningful relationships, sadly without knowing or noticing the difference. Content to live on a surface level only, people ignore matters holding greater importance to God and others. Busy, noisy lives may reach a mile wide, while rarely being more than mere inches deep. All of those are symptoms of a life content with externals. God intended your life for so much more. A superficial life is ultimately unsatisfying.

The Pharisees were a proud but shallow bunch, religious people content to live superficially. For that and more, Jesus spoke harshly to them. “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in Heaven.” Read Matthew 6:1/5-6 NIV. They postured more than prayed, more concerned that their prayers were seen by men than that their prayers were heard by God. They were concerned with externals such as religious behaviors that impressed others, without realizing that God concerned Himself with internals, one’s heart, thoughts, intentions, and motives.

God rejoices in sincere righteousness but rejects the superficiality of self-righteousness every time. When Samuel, the prophet, was sent to anoint a new king, God reminded Samuel, “I do not judge as man judges. Man looks at the outward appearance, but I look at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 TEV. To the Pharisees, Jesus said, “Woe to you . . hypocrites. You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” Matthew 23:25-26 NIV. You can imagine how unpopular Jesus was with the Pharisees.

“Serve [God] with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you.” 1 Chronicles 28:9 NIV. You cannot fully know your own heart without God’s involvement. See Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV. God does not intrude into your life except by your invitation.

My conclusion is this. As often as is needed to be assured of a pure heart before God, pray sincerely and humbly as did the Psalmist David: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 NLT.

God will use your daily time with His Word to examine and cleanse your mind, soul, and spirit. Everyday, hide the Word of God in your heart. “For the Word of God is living and active . . it judges the thoughts and intents of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” Hebrews 4:12-13 NIV. God’s intention is clear: “That He might sanctify and cleanse [you] with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present [you] to Himself . . that [you] should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:26-27 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you reject spiritual superficiality in all its forms.

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