by Charles R. Swindoll
"Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding."—Matthew 6:1 MSG
Lord God, we thank You for the model of Jesus Christ our Savior who, when He walked this earth, dripped with authenticity. We long to be authentic as our Savior was—not phony and proud and faking our commitment to You but people who have a faith that's genuine, not counterfeit. That takes courage. It takes guts to live the real life before a world that's lost its way, where hypocrisy is so often modeled and comes across as religious piety.
Forgive us, Father, for the way we have subtly sought the applause of others, hoping they'd be impressed with our humility or our generosity or even our authenticity, which wasn't authenticity at all. We pray that we'll be more effective in secret than we ever could be in public and that, as a result of Your seeing us in secret, You'll be honored and the rewards will come at a time when it's just between You and us.
Father, we pray that You will turn reproof into restoration and thereby change us so that we become like Christ—and unlike the Pharisees who were so impressed with themselves. May we instead be so impressed with You that we lose sight of ourselves. And in that self-forgetful state, may we give You all the glory that You deserve.
It is in the strong name of Jesus Christ that we pray. Amen.
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.