January 7: “It’s Not What You Do But Why You Do It”

Today’s Bible Reading:

Genesis 16:1-18:15 
Matthew 6:1-24 
Psalm 7:1-17 
Proverbs 2:1-5

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Matthew 6:6 (NLT): “But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

As we sit at the feet of Jesus and learn how to live, we discover that it’s not merely obedience that He values. He makes it clear that our motives must be pure as well.

In the verse that I have chosen for today, we understand that we must pray. It is not a command to pray because it is assumed that we are already engaged in prayer. Instead, the command’s primary thrust is focused on motive.

Jesus is watching what we do and consistently asking the question, “why?” Sure, we might be doing the things He has commanded us to do, but He is also interested in why we are doing them.

Why is our motive for obedience so significant? 

Imagine that a husband is beginning to suspect that something is wrong in his marriage. The reason? His wife has recently started to visit the gym and get fit, but she doesn’t seem to care what her husband thinks about it. Instead, she seems to care what the new guy at work thinks about her increasingly fit body.

Is it wrong for the wife to get fit? Of course not. But what is her motive? Who is she trying to please? If her motive is sinful, her actions become irrelevant.

That’s what Jesus is saying in our text. When we pray, who are we trying to please? Are we looking to Heaven for our Father’s affirmation? Or are we looking for the applause of those around us?

Friend, it’s not merely obedience that matters? Sure, do what the Lord requires. But make certain that you are doing it to gain Heaven’s applause.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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