At the moment I am in studies in Jeremiah, Titus, and 1 John. In 1 John one of the themes that is repeated is the notion of doing, practice, the Greek word that shows up over and over again is ποιέω, it shows up 13 times in 1 John, the first time in 1:6. The idea is that we are to practice righteousness, practice what Christ has already done for us. That is a good thing, a good practice.
The Current Lesson
This morning I was reading Matthew 5 – 7 in my quiet time. In 6:1 that word shows up again, this time with a warning. Christ tells us not to practice righteousness before men, for the purpose of being noticed as being righteous. That is a bad practice.
That passage stopped me. I began to pray and ask how I may be doing that in my life.
The Focused Rebuke
I have to ask, do I do things spiritually to be noticed? How would I know? One check in my heart is when I find myself thinking I could do a better job at teaching, speaking, or sharing than the one that is currently doing that task. It is a spiritual arrogance. It is sin. Romans 12:3 reminds me that I am not supposed to think more highly of myself than I should… Sometimes, to be honest, I do. Sometimes, I find myself wondering why others get opportunities I do not. Again, arrogance, sin…
The Futile Arrogance of Self Promotion
The facts are that God is in control. He has placed us in the Body just as He wants. He has given us the gifts and abilities that He wanted to give us, for His purposes, for His glory, not ours. It is His plan, His Body, His Church, He will build it with whom He wants in His time in His way. I may want a larger or different role, but the more important practice, the best practice, is to draw as close to Him as I can.
To try to do otherwise is to take responsibility for what God has said He would do, thus drawing attention to myself… Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad practice.