Whose Approval Do You Seek?


We can be praised by people now, or we can be rewarded by Him then.

“Can’t sleep? Come hear a sermon.” —Church sign

Jesus defied logical intuition by the way He lived. This is very evident in the way we will be rewarded by Jesus when we stand before Him at the Bema Seat, where believers will be blessed for their role in Kingdom work on earth. I don’t know if you’ve seen the theme in these past couple days, but if you haven’t, Jesus is going to come right out and say it in Matthew, chapter 6:

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” —Matthew 6:1-4

The A in BEMA stands for audience of One.

Jesus gave three specific examples of how secrecy is rewarded: giving, prayer, and fasting… but it applies to everything. Jesus says we have a choice: We can be praised by people now, or we can be rewarded by Him then. The actions that elicit people’s praise and the actions that elicit Jesus’ rewards might be totally the same, but it’s the motive that makes the difference. The intent in your heart is what defines your motive.

Make everything you do a thing between you and your Father. Don’t flaunt your stuff in front of the world; keep it as a secret between you and Abba. When your heart is seeking God and only God, you’re on the right path.

Father, purify my heart, that I would be focused on You and You alone as I surrender to You in me. If I rely on anyone’s approval but Yours, make it obvious so I can turn that part of my life to You again. As I start my “secret” life with You, cultivate our relationship and make it something incredible! Amen.

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