Matthew – Fulfilled
Randy and I had a wonderful opportunity to attend a Billy Graham School of Evangelism years ago while we were young in full time ministry. There were many witty and intelligent speakers/teachers who lifted our spirits while we retreated and gained strength from working on the front lines of the battle for lost souls. One man’s words stick with me still today. I am reminded of these words of wisdom as we read the next topic of Jesus’ sermon to his followers and attenders of curiosity. “RUN from the applause of men and women!”, said this wise teacher. “When you have any success in your ministries, others will immediately want to lift you high, put you on a pedestal and praise you because they are human and can only see you in front of them. They need to see GOD and praise HIM, for it is God who did the work in You. Immediately and consistently give God the glory…and be sincere about it.”
Yes, RUN from this hero worship with all that is in you for it is a temptation of the evil one to turn what God has done in and through you into merely a performance. Once you fall for it, it will become habit, because it feels good to be valued by those in your care. Praise and applause is an addicting drug that is not easily eliminated from your life as a minister. This was spoken by a well known leader who DID fall for it and had gotten to the other side, free from it, but always in recovery because of it.
Because Jesus was tempted with this exact sin when the evil one took him to the top of Temple and said, “You can have it all”, He includes this warning to us to be careful of merely performing, avoiding the applause of man. Jesus knows we will be tempted, too.
Matthew 5, The Message
The World Is Not a Stage
“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.
2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.
What do we learn?
–God knows our hearts.
–God will help us avoid the applause of men and women if we turn to Him for help.
–Pray that God would mature us to the point of extending grace and kindness to others without a second thought of how these acts would benefit us. This develops of new habit of kingdom thinking and behaving.
–Pray for opportunities to help in secret for this will train us to behave kindly without expecting anything in return.
–Avoid self gratification. RUN from it!
–RUN from praise and adoration meant for God alone.
–Praise God from Whom ALL blessings flow!
Dear Lord, this is our prayer…In Jesus Name, Amen.
And I’m singing…
Hope for all the world, You came down,
Traded heaven’s throne for a sinner’s crown,
Grace poured out.
Son of righteousness crucified,
Hanging on the cross You paid the price,
To give us life…
In Jesus’ name our sins are washed away,
In Jesus’ name we are rescued, we are saved,
For love has come to make a way for us,
In Jesus’ name there is freedom for the broken,
In Jesus’ name there is healing for the hopeless,
For all our days, we rest in Jesus’ name…
You alone are good forever true,
Never far away, we’re holding on to You,