“God forgive me for eating my little brother’s candy bar,” Jenny mumbled ashamed, head hanging. “Please help me be a better sister. God please help me be kinder and more sensitive to others.” A few feet away stands Brittney, hands on her hips, who prays loudly, “God, you are totes awesome for not making me like other people… cuz like, I’m not like Jenny…. I’m good all the time! And I’m not like those stupid kids at school, cheating on tests and stuff, or those kids who are smoking pot behind the gym. I volunteer at church, and collect stickers for orphans, and I’m not slutty like whats-her-face!”
Thank goodness we don’t have to pray out loud right? Did you know people really used to pray out loud individually during Jesus’ time? Jesus said that the person that was like Jenny would be justified, or forgiven and right in God’s sight. So what do you think was wrong with Brittney and her prayer? Well like the Pharisee in Luke 18:10-14, Brittney was guilty of a haughty spirit, or pride. Jesus said:
“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:14
When you do things for others, or behave the way God wants you to, and receive praise for it, then you are already receiving your reward. Your reward is the recognition and praise from others. In Matthew 6 Jesus says that when give to the needy, we shouldn’t let our right hand know what our left hand is doing. How much more so should others not be notified of what you do, unless you are only doing it to look good? Take a moment, and think of the last time you did something good for someone else, or sacrificed your own time or money. Did anyone know? Would you have done it if no one would ever find out? If you answered no to that last question, then your reasons for doing good things is the recognition of others. If others don’t know and reward you with recognition, the Bible says God will reward you. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather God know that I’m trying to live up to Christ, than people know.
Not only that, but not having humility makes you prideful. Would you like to be around Brittney all the time? Not only would she be annoying, but being around her would also make you feel kinda crappy right? Everyone would be telling her how amazing she was, her head would be getting bigger and bigger, and as she constantly listed all the awesome things she has done, you may feel lame in comparison. Don’t be a Brittney, be humble like Jenny, and no matter how far you think you have to go, keep trying!
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
Sometimes you can’t help people knowing the things you do, like if you read in front of the congregation, or sing a solo with the choir. That doesn’t mean God isn’t happy with your gifts and service, remember it is the condition of your heart like with David. That is what is important and that is what God sees. Strive to be part of the body of Christ and someone who loves good for it’s own sake, and who knows their flaws and is actively trying to be better, day by day!
…Seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 4:29