n the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7
), Yeshua teaches about the Ten Commandments, explaining the true heart motivation that should be the foundation of our understanding and obedience to “Torah.” The Mount of Beatitudes interprets Mount Sinai. When dealing with spiritual leaders, Yeshua repeatedly addressed a certain attitude of the heart: the desire to be seen.
Matthew 6:1 – Beware that you do not do your charitable deeds before men in order to be seen by them.
Even our good deeds can be tainted by this subtle motivation. How much of our “ministry” is motivated by a desire to have people honor us and see us as righteous?
Matthew 6:5 – Do not be as the hypocrites, who love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners in order to be seen by men.
In worship times and congregational meetings, are we secretly hoping that someone will notice how spiritual and “anointed” we are?
Matthew 6:7 – When you pray, do not heap up words like the Gentiles, thinking that they will be heard for their many words.
When we pray or teach or lead meetings, are we fascinated by the sound of our voice and think others love listening to that sound as well?
Matthew 6:16 – Do not be like the hypocrites, for they change the appearance of their faces in order to be seen as fasting by men.
Do you have a certain “super-spiritual” look that you put on your face when dealing with spiritual topics? Do you think that you will impress people by the way you look to think that you are serious and sincere, holy and loving, caring and concerned? Yeshua calls that “hypo”-“creed,” false or phony faith. Ouch!
And in rebuking the Pharisees, He added:
Matthew 23:5 – They do all their good works in order to be seen by men.
There seems to be a certain desire, prevalent among spiritual leaders, to have others look at us, or at least look at us with honor. (It’s almost like the reverse of the desire of the eyes to look upon a woman with lust – Matthew 5:28.)
I wonder why Yeshua repeats Himself so much? He seems to be awfully redundant here, don’t you think? Perhaps He repeats Himself so much because the problem repeats itself so often among so many spiritual leaders in so many different situations.
Yeshua also said that we are to desire that our good works be seen.
Mathew 5:16 – Let your light so shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
The issue is not whether we are seen, but why? To what degree are we doing “good works” for God’s glory alone, or subtly deceiving ourselves to garner part of that glory for ourselves?