Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
You are commanded to be a city on a hill. Jesus has charged you to “let your light shine before men” (Mat 5:16). Unfortunately, too many Christians are letting their light shine for all the wrong reasons. When you pray or read your Bible in public, are you seeking to “glorify your Father in heaven,” or to be noticed by those around you? Do you attend church services and youth events for the Lord or for your friends? These are tough questions to answer honestly, but ones that must be addressed. Jesus warns you, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them.
As Matthew alludes to, your motive for “righteousness” [praying at lunch, going to church, not hanging out with that crowd] will be related to how much you value your Father’s reward. Do you live for today or do you live for eternity? Are you more interesting in bettering your 70 years on earth or your eternity in heaven? The apostle Paul warns of those who will enter into heaven “by the skin of their teeth,” having very little to offer their Father in praise. “Beware!” says Jesus. Beware that you don’t sacrifice your future reward for one that will pass away with this life.
Everyone has room for improvement. Where do you find yourself basking in self glory rather than directing your “righteousness” to the Father? True righteousness, as we read on, is found in that which you are willing to do when no one is watching. Do you read your Bible in private? Do you pray alone in your bedroom? Would you go to church by yourself on vacation? These are questions you must ask yourself… but only if you are willing to change.