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Bible, notebook, colored pens, and a glass of my favorite beverage. I am preparing to sit down with the Word of God! I am looking for God to sooth my soul. My agenda and my desire are all that is on my mind! In my early years of studying the word, I imagined the heavens opening up and angels singing the hallelujah chorus as God spoke His word into my heart! How immature is that! Do not get me wrong. God’s word does sooth the soul but more often than not He breaks it to sooth it! My search for soothing landed me in the book of Matthew. Read these words with me that jumped off the page, “They have their reward in full.” I will be honest these six words sent fear through my heart. It was not at all what I expected. Although it was not what I expected I Praise God because it was exactly what I needed!
Be Aware of Practicing Your Righteousness Before Men!
The sixth chapter of Matthew starts out with these words of warning, “Be aware of practicing your righteousness before men.” Matthew 6:1. Right after that Jesus adds these words, “to be noticed by them.” What is the motive behind what we are doing? Are we trying to receive applause and honor from man? I will tell you the flesh does want glory and honor. It is ok with him if he receives it from a man. The more honor and glory he gets the more he wants and desires. I have to ask, “Do we recognize that in ourselves?”
The flesh will always be the flesh. It’s sinful lusts desire to be king over our lives. Romans 6:12. This sinful desire that rears its ugly head in Matthew 6 is the lust of praise, worship, and honor for ourselves. Jesus warns that the outcome of practicing our self-righteousness before men is this, “no reward from our Father in heaven.” Matthew 6:1. Our self-righteous hypocritical acts receive its reward in full on this earth! Are you afraid?
The Self- Righteous Sounds His Trumpet Before Man
Matthew gives three examples of how the hypocrite sounds his own trumpet before men.
- Giving to the poor. Matthew 6:2-4
- Praying. Matthew 6:5-6
- Fasting. Matthew 6:16-18
The self-righteous, the hypocrite, go into the synagogue and out on the streets to impress men with his self-righteous acts. He covets honor and praise from men. I want us to notice something. After each of these incidents, Jesus replies, “They have their reward in full.”They got exactly what their heart desired!
We are instructed to go into our secret place when we give, pray, and fast. Our Father in heaven who sees what is done in secret will reward us. Oh, glorious day, His rewards are eternal, not momentary.
Why Would We Want Honor From Man When…
The flesh hasn’t thought this out to its end. Honor and praise from man are temporary. It will not last. When someone else passes by with a louder trumpet it is the nature of man to turn in their direction. What does that do to our flesh? It causes it to get louder and louder! We end up in a never-ending cycle of discontent.
Why would we settle for temporary when we have an eternal reward from God in heaven?
“You have your reward in full.”Does this statement cause you to fear? I know that I have to do a heart check when I am praying, writing… whatever it might be. Because ladies our hearts are deceitful. Jeremiah 17:9. But there is beauty in this! God knows! The fact that God knows should scare us to death too, but He knows our hearts and has chosen to reveal truth to us that we may turn from our wicked ways. We have an opportunity to check our motives. That is a gift from our heavenly Father!
After a heart check, God soothes the soul! I am thankful that God reveals truth to you and me so that we may repent and go our way rejoicing in Him! Rejoicing in Him and His righteousness is our great reward!