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Look At Me! Look At Me!

Daily Reading: Matthew 6

Scripture Focus: In order to be seen by them... (Matthew 6.1)

Devotional Thought: In Matthew 6, Jesus assumes something striking: that his followers, as well as others, can do the righteousness of God - that our righteousness includes doing, as well as believing. After all, even the devils believe... and tremble! But, Jesus' real purpose is to go behind these acts of righteousness, to the motives that inspire them. In particular, he says that we must always be vigilant not to do good deeds in order to be seen and praised by others.

Jesus cites three examples:

· Charity. Jesus said that we will always have the poor with us. We will always, therefore, have opportunity to share our blessings with them. We should do that. At times it is hard to maintain anonymity, even impossible, but that is not the point. The point is don't do it to get noticed. (Note - sometimes this scripture is misapplied to giving to the church, but that is not what Jesus had in mind at all. That, however, is a story for another day!)

· Prayer. Jesus wasn't saying here that you should never pray in a public way. Often, Jesus' disciples knew he was praying. We read of public prayers of the early Christians. Prayer can be very public, but its motive must not be to get attention.

· Fasting. Some in Jesus' day, liked to put their piety on display. When they fasted, they wanted others to know just how hard they had it. So, they put on sad faces. Jesus said they were wasting their time! Strict secrecy in fasting is not here commanded, however. There are many instances of public fasts in the Bible. Jesus was simply pointing out that true fasting does not seek to be praised.

Are you doing acts of righteousness? What is your motive?

Prayer: Jesus, help me to do deeds that accompany my testimony of faith in you. But, help me to do them with an eye on you and not be concerned if others see me. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 89.1-4

1 I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever;

with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations.

2 For I said, “Steadfast love will be built up forever;

in the heavens you will establish your faithfulness.”

3 You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one;

I have sworn to David my servant:

4 ‘I will establish your offspring forever,

and build your throne for all generations.’” Selah

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