Today is my sister-in-laws birthday, we will say that it is her 21st(she wishes). I hope you have a wonderful birthday Amanda! In honor of her special day, and since for some strange reason she is infatuated with my new blog. I’ve decided to write about a topic of her choosing.
She chose the topic of doing good deeds only to make yourself look good, or to get recognition from others.
Before I begin, I just want to tell you that I am by no means a biblical scholar. I am not writing this as a form of judgment on others. I would never want to do that. If someone takes it that way I apologize, but still I must stand beside my beliefs. The writing of this has helped me test my own motives for helping others, and want to change myself to be a better person. My wish is that the following will inspire some of you to do the same. I also understand that there are people out there who don’t share my beliefs, but hope that you would continue reading with an open mind. Even if you don’t believe in the scriptures, there is still something to be said for taking a step back and examining ourselves in order to become better people.
This is a long post, so I recommend waiting until you can sit and thoroughly enjoy my thoughts on the subject. It wouldn’t hurt to have your bible handy to reference some of the scriptures. Please never simply take my word for something, I have been known to make mistakes a time or two, so have your bible handy and check the scriptures for yourself. Use the following as a guide to research the subject and then form your own opinions.
In our discussion, Amanda brought up the story of the Tax Collector and the Pharisee from the bible, which can be found in Luke 18:13. Basically it’s the story of two men praying in the temple. One was a tax collector, in biblical times, they were about as well liked as they are today! The other was a Pharisee, which was a religious leader. Luke 18:11: “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God I thank you that I am not like other men, extortionist, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all I posses.”
Do you see anything wrong with the prayer of the Pharisee? Could it be that instead of trying to be a humble servant, he was a prideful leader? He expected to be served, instead of serving others. The Pharisee basically stood there in the church listing all of his attributes and all the good deeds he had done to God, as if God hadn’t seen it all anyway. For a little more insight into the mind of someone who acts like a Pharisee, I would suggest getting out your bible and reading Ezekiel 28. I will be studying this as soon as my eyes stop bleeding from staring at a computer screen for so long!
Next comes the tax collector, dreaded by all, to pray. They are talked about quite a bit in the bible. They are described as being greedy and most times taking more than they are owed, only to keep the extra for themselves. From what I understand this man was so ashamed he wouldn’t even raise his eyes to heaven when he prayed. Instead the bible says he beat his breast and with averted eyes he prayed, “God be merciful to me a sinner!”
Who do you think was justified in the eyes of God that day?
Luke 18:14: For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
I would not want to be the person who reaches the end of my life, only to realize I spent all my time doing things for my own glory, instead of the glory of God!
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you, depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
God doesn’t need you to list everything that you have done for him or others, and all the riches you have earned every time you pray. In case you have forgotten he is omnipotent, meaning he sees everything. All he wants is for you to humble yourself before him and serve him with your whole heart.
Doing nice things for others, and helping where ever there is a need are good things to do. Just be careful of the reasons you choose to do them. Are you only doing things for others, because of the benefits you will receive in return? Do you relish the praise you receive from a good deed? Do you think doing good works will get you into Heaven?
After all the bible says in James 2:17: Faith without works is dead.”
In case you didn’t know, the Bible say’s the only way you can get into heaven is by accepting that Jesus is the Son of God, and that he gave His life for you.(John 3:16) No amount of good works is going to earn you acceptance into heaven. Jesus wasn’t joking when he said, “I am the way.” (John 14:6)
Now we know we will never be able to earn our way into heaven by the works we do for others. I found myself with the question: If all I have to do to get into heaven is to repent ask for Jesus to save me, why even do things for others? Why can’t I just spend my time doing all the things that please my heart?
Well for one thing if you are truly saved, you will want to please God. There is even a list of things in the bible that describes what should flow forth from you when you are in a right place with God.
Galatians 5:22: “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such there is no law.”
I would suggest(myself included) checking yourself against this list from time to time, to make sure you aren’t just looking for recognition or doing good deeds to boost your own pride.
As I was reading the story of these two men a few more Scriptures were brought to mind. I’ll start with one in the book of Matthew. This has spoken to me from the very first time I read it.
Matthew 6:1-5: “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in Heaven. Therefore when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will Himself openly reward you.”
If the first thing you do after helping someone out, is to advertise it for the all the world to see. I think you might need to take a look at your motives. It’s easy to let the praise and thanksgiving from others give us a puffed up sense of pride. I think it’s alright to receive thanks or recognition from others sometimes. It’s when you find yourself seeking this kind of reaction from others it may be time to re-examine your heart. I hope that I can always strive to be humble and do good works for the glory of God, not my own glory.
Philippians 2:12: Therefore my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
I also don’t want to find that I spent too much time looking around and judging the works that others are doing. I truly don’t believe it is my place to judge anyone. I do think there is a way to lead someone, from a place of love and kindness, to help reveal things they are doing that they shouldn’t be. In the end we are not responsible for the actions and motives of others, we can’t drag them kicking and screaming to salvation! They have to work out their own salvation.
Now all that being said, lets dig a little deeper into the heavenly rewards.
1 Corinthians 3:12-15:
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, each ones work will become clear, for the Day will declare it because it will be revealed by the fire. The fire will test each ones work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through the fire.”
I believe the “Day our works become clear”, in the above passage, is the day of Christ’s judgment. (Revelation 22:12) This is a day where rewards will be given or lost, depending on what we did with our lives. The day that he will test our so-called good works with his holy fire. If our works are like gold, silver and precious stones they will survive the fire. If they are of wood, straw, or hay they will burn up in the fire, but the Good News is that we will still be saved!
Still, what does it matter if our rewards make it through this fiery judgment, if we will be saved anyway?
In addition to our heavenly rewards, the bible lists 5 crowns that we can earn for the different things God has called us to do with our lives. I will list the scriptures, but will save the details about each crown for another time(if anyone is interested let me know). I feel as though I’ve already written a book, and would hate to bore anyone.
1. The crown of righteousness: 2 Timothy 4:7-8
2. The incorruptible crown: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
3. The crown of life: Revelation 2:10
4. The crown of rejoicing: 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
5. The crown of glory: 1 Peter 5:1-4
Think back on the story of Jesus and all he had to endure just to save us. When I take the time to actually contemplate the things this Man has done for me, I want to give him everything. I want to climb the tallest mountain and shout his name from the top! I want to live a perfect life, and lead millions to His salvation. I want someone, somewhere to see something in me that makes them want to be a better person and perhaps get to know what makes me different. I want to do everything from a place of love with a hope that I could lead even just 1 soul to Salvation.
Sounds good on paper, but it’s not so easy in the real world. Every day I fall short of being what I want to be. I pass up opportunities to tell others about Jesus because I feel inadequate to describe his glory. I am rude, prideful, sometimes unkind, and often times I say things that I shouldn’t(this is a big problem of mine). Occasionally I have to remind myself of Romans 3:23: “For we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” I hope to receive some heavenly rewards or crowns for one reason only. I want to have something besides for this not so perfect life I’ve been living to offer my savior, as a tribute to the Life He gave for me. I want to have something to lay at his feet(just like the 24 elders in Revelation 4:10 who cast their crowns at the feet of Jesus), and I hope with all that is in me to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Well, I hope you enjoyed this! Let me know what you think, but please be kind. I have double checked for grammar and spelling errors, I’m sure there are still some that I missed.(sorry) All the pictures were from my favorite website, Pinterest.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMANDA