Matthew 6:1 – “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” NASB
Most, if not all of us, know or have known of people who relished the spotlight and attention. They did philanthropic deeds, put their best foot forward, and put on the dog (so to speak) when they knew they were being observed but when no one was looking they were quite different.
I observed a professional athlete once, that when the cameras were on him, he was smiles and courteous even signed an autograph or two. Then when the camera crew went to another location, he was rude, arrogant, and dismissive of anyone trying to get near him. Another athlete in the same event continued for a full hour talking to the spectators and fans signing autographs and learning something about the people. One was all show but no substance the other was genuine on or off-camera. I gained respect for the one and lost all respect for the other. I won’t tell you who they were it is not important what they did is.
In Christianity, the Lord Jesus advised that if we practice our righteousness or ‘Faux Christianity’ to be seen and lauded by men we will be genuinely disappointed on that final day when we stand before God. The words ‘well done my good and faithful servant’ will not be heard. Jesus said that there will be no reward from the Father, the praise of men is all we will get in this life or the next. You are what you are when no one is around! It would be far better to be real, honest, and who you really are all the time. That way you never have to be afraid that someone will see or hear you out of character or costume.
That is a philosophy that I adopted a long time ago for my life. I am what I am at all times! What you see is what you get. I don’t change when in the pulpit, sitting in the pew, at a party, prayer meeting, or in the woods hunting. I’m the same all the time. That has not always been the case and I would put on a mask when I went to church because, after all, I was the preacher and could not have problems, be down, disappointed, or even battle depression. I was trying to be a spiritual superman!
That became so tiring that one day the Holy Spirit arrested me and said, “You Phony, stop it!” Of course, I protested and gave my well-rehearsed argument about why I had to be like I was only to hear the Spirit of God say, “PHONY! PHONY! PHONY You are not a Show Pony!” It took a few encounters like that for me to fess up and repent. From that day to this, I am what I am. You either like me or you don’t. I never want to be rude or unkind. One thing you will always find is that I am the same on a consistent basis. I try never to wear a mask, hide behind some religious cliché, or perform. It is too tiring and too hard to remember how you are supposed to be at different times and different occasions. I just let the Holy Spirit reveal who I really am flaws and all. I’ve been happier that way and frankly more effective than ever in my labors for the Kingdom.
I am not and you are not a ‘Show Pony’ we are real human beings who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and we have flaws and shortcomings. We face problems like everyone else. You fail at times and you make mistakes. Be real! Be who you are at the level you are spiritually. You are a work in progress and never forget it. Ultimately people will appreciate your honesty and while there may be some super religious people who will be turned off by the way you are living in the real world, but they did the same to Jesus so don’t worry about it.
May God be with you as you go through your day!