Sacrificial LoveWhat does it mean for you to carry your cross?
Top Christian Music Videos
Right Thing, Wrong Reason
But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven! (v.20).
I was preaching one evening when a mentally ill man walked down the church aisle, slapped me in the face, pushed over the pulpit, and sent the congregation into a panic. In a protective act, a church member named Gary stepped toward the man as he lunged towards Gary and his wife.
I sent an email to Gary the next day, commending his bravery. “I wasn’t trying to protect anyone,” he replied. “I was scared, tried to run away, and accidentally ran into him.” What had looked like courage had, in fact, been cowardice.
Seemingly “good” deeds can have bad motives. It’s possible to do the “right” thing for the wrong reason. Jesus warned of it. The Pharisees were experts at good deeds. They were trying to keep 248 commandments and 365 restrictions within the expanded Jewish law. But their expertise was in outward conformity rather than purity of heart. They didn’t murder, but they did hate (Matthew 5:21). They didn’t commit adultery but they did lust (Matthew 5:27). They gave to the poor, but they did so to look good (Matthew 6:1). They did the right things for the wrong reasons.
Jesus called His people to a righteousness “better” than this. Deeds matter, but motives matter more. The God who looks at the heart (1 Samuel 1:7) wants love for Him and others to be our only motive (Matthew 22:37).
This calls for some careful reflection, for we can be just as pharisaical today. Instead of freely giving to someone, we can help them in order to get something in return. We can oppose homosexuality out of bigotry rather than true concern for another’s wellbeing. We can donate to charity simply to improve our public image.
The greatest treason is “to do the right thing for the wrong reason,” wrote T. S. Elliot. According to Jesus, love is the remedy.
In what area of your life are you most tempted to do the right thing for the wrong reason? How is love the ultimate remedy?
- Sacrificial Love - What does it mean for you to carry your cross?...read more
- Autograph of the Ordinary - Do you accept the truth that God is in your ordinary work?...read more
- The Gift of Love - How should you respond to such a great love?...read more
- Warm Welcome - How does warm hospitality reflect God’s loving heart?...read more
- In the Gap - What has God equipped you with to intercede for others?...read more
- Confession and Blessing - How does repentance reveal our faith and trust in Jesus?...read more
- Breaking the Mold - How are you sharing Jesus with the next generation?...read more
- Diseased Hearts - What are the implications of only God truly knowing the heart and being able to cure it?...read more
- To Make Them Better - To follow Jesus means we allow God to transform the whole of our life....read more
- Looking for Work? - Consider how God has uniquely equipped you....read more
- Out of the Blue - God intervened before we were aware of our need....read more
- Joy and Sadness - Is there sadness in your life you need to embrace?...read more
- Passion Unleashed - What gifts and talents has God given you?...read more
- Thankful for What? - How do your difficult times more clearly illustrate God’s power and redemption?...read more
- Where Desire Takes Us - What desires have you been wrestling with?...read more
- Nursing a Grudge - Why is it vital for you to bring your bitter feelings to God?...read more