By: Waylon Bailey
How do we follow the commands of Christ as given in the Sermon on the Mount? While all of His commands are difficult, the area of motivation is especially difficult.
Jesus told his disciples to be motivated by love and obedience to God. For Jesus, religious devotion should flow from the heart. He wanted His disciples to serve God out of a heart of complete devotion to Him.
Neither prayer, fasting, or giving matter if they do not have a motivation to glorify God. When we do these religious acts from selfish ambition, we harm our witness and glorify only ourselves. Jesus wants our devotion to come from “one heart,” a heart fully and completely devoted to God.
If we do our religious acts only to be seen and applauded by others, these acts have no meaning to God. The person who does such will have no reward in heaven.
How then do we follow Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon? He called us to let our light shine before others so that they may see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven. He also told us not to do our good works in order to seen and praised by others.
A famous theologian summed it up this way: when you are tempted be hide your works, show them; when you are tempted to show, hide them.
The world needs a bold witness for Christ. We must be unashamed to make the Father known. This is no time for timid Christians. When we are tempted to be silent, we must speak.
But if we feel a need to be praised, we should do our religious deeds in secret so that the Father who sees in secret may reward us openly.
We live in a time when we must let our light shine. The world is attracted to humility and service; it is repulsed by showiness and self-serving attitudes.
Let us hear and obey the words of our Lord. Let us let our light shine before others.