Matthew 6:1-4 – “Take care not to practice your righteousness in the sight of people, to be noticed by them; other-wise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 ‘So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, so that they will be praised by people. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your charitable giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Pride is the mother that gives birth to every other sin. Pride wants to use God to get glory for self. Pride wants to live independent of God altogether for the glory of self. The natural man, apart from Christ, wants others to think very highly of them. We want to hide and cover our weaknesses and blemishes while boasting in our achievements and all the knowledge we have accumulated. We love to talk about ourselves and do not naturally have much of an interest in others without the intention of reciprocation. The first commandment is to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The natural man, apart from Christ, loves themselves with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength. Apart from Christ, we can do a lot of good things for others, just not for the sake of God and others. The Apostle Paul would later say it this way, ‘If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give away all my possessions to charity, and if I surrender my body so that I may glory, but do not have love, it does me no good’ – 1 Corinthians 13:2-3. The Apostle Paul also gives us the sobering reminder, ‘If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ’ – Galatians 1:10.
Jesus Christ wants to make us His temple, the place where heaven and earth meet. We must turn from a life that seeks man’s attention and award, to a life that pursues Christ; His presence, His nature, and His reward. It is only when Christ is establishing our hearts in His love that we can practice righteousness with God and others’ best interests ahead of our own.
Heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus Christ, help us to seek you first that we might have our hearts knit together with yours. Help us to grow in love and good works by the power of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.