MUCH of what I write comes as a result of ideas that I believe the Holy Spirit gives me. Oftentimes God convicts with the word, “that” i.e. write on that.
This is a that…
Something that must irk God about Christians that write and preach and communicate (especially on social media) — and I include myself in this — is at times the motive for communicating, and the words written and said, does little to actually bring glory to Him. It might sound good, but the motive, one’s heart, can be a degree or two off. Too often we fall into the sin of wanting to be seen as inspiring, intellectual, knowledgeable, wise, just, godly, humble, compassionate, or inspired. We are men and women after all — sinners, prone to sinning — and we, as Christian leaders and leaders in His church, are no exception. It’s not our church; it’s His.
Having contemplated this passage, I want to suggest the following commentarial paraphrase of Matthew 6:1-8…
Be wise to the sneaky temptations home to your sinful nature when God blesses you with opportunities to give to the needy, or serve the vulnerable. Be really honest! You are no better than the needy person, nor are you stronger than someone who’s vulnerable. Remember, life can deal you a raw hand at any time. Instead, do whatever God blesses you to do, simply, without performing for an audience, and without feeling ‘good’ about what you’ve done. Simply thank God you had the opportunity to begin with. And thank God you withstood the temptation to sin; that you endured the test. You pass the test when you do your giving and serving with cryptic intent. If nobody ever finds out about the good deed you did, all the better. Then your Father in heaven is glorified, because, in the process, people are drawn to faith in Christ.
Likewise, with prayer, avoid saying you’ll pray and then fail to intercede in the way you should, having committed verbally. It’s better to pray and keep it between you and God. Keep your prayer life as private as possible, but do genuinely encourage people when God speaks to you about people who are a blessing. God’s not impressed when you corrupt the holy practice of prayer by adding vocabulary to your Christianese and giving publicity to your prayer closet. He made you and He knows what you need. Don’t use your faith in Christ to create political influence, even if it’s with your friends; everyone should know that’s a common way of falling short. That’s not the right motive to build His Kingdom or give Him glory. And it’ll get you to a worse place than nowhere. Instead, simply pray, and better, without putting it on, but full of heart and thought that honours God.
As I’ve said above, I hear God speaking these words to me; to make ministry and prayer about Him and others, and not about myself. I hope you can find this of personal benefit, too.
© 2016 Steve Wickham.