Blindfold Your Left Hand

IMG_0442.JPG Matthew 6:1-4 NIV
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. [2] “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. [3] But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, [4] so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

If your left hand is not even suppose to see your kind deed, then surely something is wrong when a Christian is frantically scrambling about to make sure someone, especially that someone that is deemed important, takes notice. People pleasers can’t follow Christ because their allegiance belongs to whoever it is that day that is offering acceptance and approval. You can be bought for a dime.

Jesus does not mince words or dance around the topic when teaching his disciples about the value of hiddenness. James writes that selfish ambition “does not come down from heaven but is early, unspiritual, demonic” (James 3:14-15). It grieves my heart that far too often, we as Christians are not very honest with ourselves. Some heart-searching is in order. However, do not do it alone. That is mere introspection and can play into the hands of Satan as well as God. Psalms 139:23-24 is a prayer that invites the Holy Spirit to search our hearts. It is a Spirit-led introspection. Socrates wrote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Will you spend a few days inviting the Holy Spirit to search you?

As a pastor, much of what I do is in front of people. If I try hard enough, I can probably get at least one person, if not several, to see (or hear about, or find out about) what I am doing for someone (and The Lord). Social media makes it even easier. If we do a servant project, before we are even done, we use instagram/facebook/twitter to trumpet our good deeds. Now, it is not wrong to use social media at times to share what we are doing. But I am afraid, if you and I are not careful, that we end up not wanting to do something unless someone is going to praise us for it.

Earlier today I considered not doing something that I knew would be a very kind, loving thing to do. Why? I am not sure, but I wonder if was because part of me knew that no praise would come my way. The person I was doing something for is not known by many people. It’s probably not one of those deeds that will come back around eventually (in other words, at some point I will get some recognition and praise for it). Jesus would know, but that is about it. Is that good enough for me? Or is my faith really just another way I am hustling and bustling about for approval and acceptance. These are questions I need to constantly ask myself (and the Holy Spirit).

Consider the following questions:

Do you put more of your heart into something when the person you want approval from is watching?

Do you walk past opportunities to do good if you know that nobody in your world would ever find out about it?

When you perform a kind, helpful, serving act, do you have to let someone know for you to really enjoy what you did?

Let me be blunt: Do you embrace hiddenness?

Are you so insecure that anytime you do a charitable deed, you have to tell somebody or else it seems like a waste? Be honest, if you really believed that God saw and appreciated what you did, you would not have to run out and shout to the world your deed. God’s intimate knowledge of your ordinary life should make you so secure that you do not have to clamor about for human praise and acknowledgement. If you really believe that God’s approval is what counts and that is what you are living for, to be fully pleasing to Him (Colossians 1:10), then you will be able to even have some fun with trying your hardest to keep a good deed hidden. Knowing that God sees and will reward you ought to make hiddenness not only attractive, but almost a challenge. God knows, so let me see how many people I can keep a good deed hidden from. Because God accepts a Christian in Christ, that son/daughter no longer has to run about for acceptance. He/she can rest, have peace, and even delight in things done only before God. And if God wants to exalt you, He will do it!

1 Peter 5:6 NKJV
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

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