Even farther back than I can remember, I’ve gone to church, prayed, read my Bible, been a nice kid… I’ve done all of the typical “Christian” things to do. As a five-year-old I never second guessed it. I did those things out of routine because that is what my family did, and quite frankly, church was where I played with my friends, so I had no objections.
That can only last so long though. At some point, I stopped doing things just because my parents did them, and because they were things I chose to do. But why did I choose to do them? Why am I choosing to do them now?
I am at church almost every time the doors are open, I read my Bible… but why? I’m not asking you, I’m asking myself. I’ve been asking myself this for weeks and months, and still don’t know if I have a definite answer. I wish that I could say confidently that I do those things because I love Jesus. And some days I think that is the case. But other days I wonder if I’m just doing them because I want other people to think I love Jesus.
Wow. That’s so sad. I know for sure that there have been times in my life when carrying a clean Christian image was more important to me than passionately pursuing my Savior, and I don’t want that to ever be the case again.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of people, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” — Matthew 6:1
When the motive behind my so-called “righteousness” is to be seen by people, I am living with an attitude of pride rather than an attitude of humility. My heart isn’t pure and centered on Jesus, instead it is focused on glorifying myself.
“Humble yourselves before the LORD, and He will lift you up.” — James 4:10
Being lifted up from a Biblical perspective doesn’t look like bragging on yourself or doing “Christian” things to be seen by people. It doesn’t look like arrogantly thinking you are better than other people because of your list of credentials and good works. Paul talks in Philippians 3 about how those things are worthless, and considered “filth” compared to truly living as a follower of Christ.
I am more than guilty of doing all of those things. Of considering myself better than those around me. Of practicing my righteousness to be seen by people. Of trying to lift myself up. But as James writes, I have to humble myself before the LORD, place myself in submission to Him, and in turn He will lift me up. Not for my own glory, but for His glory.
Jesus is the perfect example of humility. Of seeking the Father’s will and glory rather than His own. At the Last Supper, knowing the intensity of the night He was about to face, Jesus chose to serve His disciples selflessly by washing their feet. He could have easily rationalized that He was about to go to the cross for them and that He did not have to wash their feet on top of all of that. No one could have faulted Him for wanting to conserve His energy knowing He was going to be carrying a wooden cross down the streets of Jerusalem only hours later. Instead of letting those selfish thoughts control Him however, Jesus got down on His knees and scrubbed the grime off the feet of His disciples. Jesus epitomized humility, and He is the one who deserves glory more than anyone else ever could. If Jesus acted with humility, for the glory of the Father, shouldn’t I do so as well?
Why do I do the things that I do? Why do I read my Bible and pray? Is it because it’s what I’m supposed to do? Or is it because I want people to think I’m a good Christian? Maybe so, but I don’t want that to be the case anymore. I want to fall desperately in love with my Savior and live so dependent on Him that I rely on Him and run to Him in everything. I want my focus to be humbly submitting to Him, and letting Him receive the glory for anything good that comes out of my life. I want to live my life for Jesus.