The Most Important Part

flower7"Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven."--Matthew 6:1 "The most important part of a Christian's life is the part that only God sees."--Warren Wiersbe

For the first three months of the year, I have set out to explore the gospel of Matthew. Of all the gospels, I think this gospel is the one that some of my most foundational "life verses" are found. It is also easiest for me to follow, as Matthew records some of Jesus' teachings in long, solid chunks, interspersed with specifically selected miracles and events throughout His ministry.

One of my favorite sections is the Sermon on the Mount. There are so many wonderful verses, but the one thought that really struck me this time around is Jesus' attack on hypocrisy. In this season of my life, I have stepped back from regular teaching ministry. I have noticed that when I teach and am "out in public," I am both sharpened and much more aware of my need to practice what I preach. But I have noticed that when I do not teach a regular class, it is easy for me to get lazy at home. In some way teaching holds me accountable to what happens at home. But now, I am finding that I am more a Pharisee than a true follower.

It is so easy to put on our "Sunday faces" out in public, and I must confess that I put that on with my makeup each week. Patiently, my Lord has had to remind me that my Father sees and knows all that I do, even if no one else does. I may be able to get away with fooling others, but I cannot pull the wool over His eyes. Would He be pleased with my tone of voice when my youngest spills the milk yet again? Would He be honored when I grumble because Anah is so slow every morning? Would He praise me for the way I barely acknowledge my husband when he comes home from a busy day?

One of my greatest desires in life is to be as completely true to God in my private life as in my public one. I don't want to live with the burden of being two people. I don't like the feeling of being a fake. And most importantly, I don't want to set a poor example for my children to follow.

To ponder: Is there a discrepancy between your "public you" and your "private you"? In what ways does the "private you" need to change and grow so that it matches your public persona? What fears or idols do you need to deal with in order for you to be a seamless whole?

Lord God, I struggle so much with being truly authentic in my work and in my worship. Every day I have opportunities to be true to You or to take the easy road. I confess that too often I take the latter. Please raise my awareness of Your presence in my life so that I can be a woman, wife and mother who is the same at home as I am out in public. I want to be a testimony for You, not just for the world to see, but for those who are most dear to me. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.