Giving • Devotion #5: God and Yourself

For those of you that know me, you know that I have been blessed to be a musician. I remember when I was in 2nd grade, Mr. Duvall had a piano in his classroom, and one day during our “free time,” I walked over and began playing. To me, I was just practicing and having a good time, but to my teacher and my fellow classmates, they seemed amazed that someone knew how to play piano at such a young age. I was filled with euphoria after receiving so much praise and acknowledgment. That was when I realized that I was going to have a lifelong struggle with pride. 

One of the greatest desires of humankind is to be accepted by others. We long for connection and relationships and we were designed this way by God. Some will go out of their way to get attention from others. We all know someone that tries to “one-up” you after you tell a story and it is simply to receive praise and acceptance from you. It takes a lot of discipline and multiple moments of self-evaluation to keep yourself in check trying to be prideful of what you have done and achieved. Pride can also set in when you are working for the Lord. Whether you are a volunteer, part of the staff, or one of the board members of the church, it is easy to get caught up in the accomplishments of the church. Whether it is putting together an awesome program, building a stellar backdrop, or playing an amazing set for worship, it is easy to pat yourself on the back. 

In Matthew chapter 6, there are some guidelines given to help guide God’s people in the way they conduct themselves in their worship to the Lord. Matthew 6:3-4 says, “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. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” God wants you to give to the cause with no intention of receiving praise for your generosity from others. Matthew 6:6 adds, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” As I have studied this chapter, it seems that if you want to further His Kingdom in a healthy manner, you must do it with the mindset that you are only doing so in the eyes of God and no one else. Matthew 6:17-18 says, “But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Do not tell or boast of your fasting habits. God will not reward your efforts of fasting if you do so in a sinful manner. I interpret these guidelines in a very simple way that has helped me overcome some of the most difficult struggles of pride in my life. When you are trying to worship and praise God in your walk of faith, do so in the mindset that it is just God and yourself in the room. When we worship, we sing and play to an audience of One. When we give our tithes and offerings, we give to the one true God. When we fast, it is to remind us how faithful God is in our lives and that we need to display true humility in the eyes of our Father alone. I encourage you all to do a self-evaluation and to make sure the way that you worship God is done in a healthy manner and that it is done in a “God and Yourself” way.

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