Sunday, December 25, 2016

People-Driven Holiness: A Dangerous Pursuit [Part Two]

Third, people-driven holiness is doing things to get the attention, praise, and applause of people. 

In the first point, I shared about how admirably we may behave in the presence of others. In the second, how we want our image to be guarded when we fail. In this third point, I want to speak about how we do good things deliberately for others’ approval. 

I remember how I prayed beautifully for the appreciation of others, how I preached well for the attention of others, and how I gave offerings to impress others. And when I didn’t get the response I desired from people, I got disappointed. 

The Lord Jesus, in what is called The Sermon on the Mount, cautioned, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 6:1).

Take note, the Lord is not saying that works of righteousness are invisible, but that the motive behind our good works should not be to be seen and appreciated by people. 

I am afraid, much of the Christian activities that we do are done to be seen and praised by others. Perhaps we give an offering, do evangelism, go to church fellowship, do some good works—all so that people would look at our works of righteousness and get impressed with us. 

How many of us try hiding our folly when we sin, but when we do something good, we want to blow the trumpet and share it with others! Isn’t this what usually happens in social media, like Facebook, What’s App, etc.? We want others to see our good works, put thumbs up or a smiley, and appreciate our acts. 

Interestingly, we may even justify ourself that we share our good works to encourage others, when, in fact, our deceptive heart craves for attention and praise. And how disappointed we feel when we don’t see any appreciative symbols or words for what we have done!

Deeds done for the praise of people receive no praise from our Father in heaven. Our light must shine to glorify the name of God, not ourselves (Matt. 5:16).

Four, people-driven holiness is doing things so that others would do the same for us.

What do I expect when I post a prayer request or a pic or a testimony in social media? I want others to respond with some emojis or words of approval. But, how will they do when I myself don’t do the same for them? Social media has become more like ‘you scratch my back and I scratch your back.’ 

Some may quote the Golden Rule of the Lord Jesus, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 7:12). Are we not just doing what the Lord Jesus said? We appreciate to receive appreciation. We help to receive help. We pray to be prayed for. We give gifts to receive gifts. We attend others’ parties so that they would attend ours, and so on.

Just like some have twisted the words of Jesus, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” to a command to love oneself, so we may twist the words of Jesus, “Do to others what you wish them to do to you” to doing all things for others in order to get them do the same for us. 

In the Golden Rule, the point of the Lord Jesus is to focus on doing for others that which we expect from them, not doing for others with an expectation to have them do the same for us. 

Think about visiting a person in a hospital and serving him. After his discharge, the person expresses his gratitude for all your kind help. Let’s say you are a transparent person, so you would respond, “O, my friend, let me be frank with you. I have done all these things to you so that when I am in trouble, you would do the same to me.” Would this excite gratitude in that person? 

Doing good for others so that others would do good for us only speaks about our selfishness, not charity.  Click Here to Read Part Three..... 

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