January 18

…do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3

Religious practices so easily become a theatrical performance, and Jesus is the enemy of religious posing – in prayer, in giving, and in every area of spiritual life. Here in this verse Jesus goes to the heart of this whole area of temptation, and exposes who the audience is that we so often play to – ourselves! Jesus is saying, when you do something generous or kind, when you have a victory in some area, when your faith rises in some great flow of utterance or supernatural power, then beware of the danger of continually congratulating yourself, of patting yourself on the back and telling yourself how well you did. If you indulge in this, the result will be a feeling of exultation that is self-centred, and you will rob God of the glory. Taking our eyes off ourselves is the vital heart of worship, and hence of spiritual life. It is only possible by keeping our eyes firmly on the Lord Jesus Christ. Love Him, with all that you are and all that you have. Pour out your precious anointing oil on Him. Love Him, refresh Him. Don’t think of an audience, and don’t even be the audience yourself. Look up to Him and worship Him alone.