Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. (Matthew 6:1-2)
It might seem incredible that people in Jesus’ ministry were practicing charitable deeds who were motivated to do so because they wanted to be acknowledged by others. But it might not seem all that incredible when we think about how the motives behind this is the human nature, pride.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb 4:15)
The Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness where He was being tempted for forty days by the devil (Lk 4:1-2). However, Jesus triumphed over Satan during those temptations. Why must Jesus go through temptations? Temptation is part of the human experience. For Jesus to understand us completely, He had to go through the suffering of temptation so that He may sympathize with our weaknesses and become our merciful High Priest. The devil’s temptations to Jesus focused on three areas: physical desire, greed, and pride – the same categories of temptations we face in our own lives.
Recently, I have been spending more time with the younger youth at our church. Not because I was told to, but because I realized they needed a lot of guidance since there was some bullying going on. In the past, I was bullied at church and almost left because of it. I know what it’s like to be picked on and I know how much it can hurt some one’s feelings.
Although I was there to keep the peace, I realized that the more time I spent with the kids, the more shameful I was. As I watched them try to resolve issues and see how forgiving they were, I looked at myself and thought about how I resolved my own issues with others. Did I do what I told the children to do? Sometimes. Was I as forgiving of others as they were? No, not really. Continue reading
“And indeed there are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last.” (Lk 13:30)
Jesus’ response to the question, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” ended with this statement: “There are last who will be first, and there are first who will be last”. I used to be puzzled by what Jesus meant. In the world of technology, I can understand that young professionals with fresh training in new technology can overtake old school senior workers in the job market, but how does this apply in the spiritual realm? Continue reading
During a discussion about faith, an anonymous member asked me about complacency in servitude and faith, and how to overcome it. Often, we find that as youths who begin to have responsibilities in church, or are becoming introduced to ‘leadership’ roles, it is very easy to develop a sense of self-confidence, or self-entitlement towards our faith. We may start to feel a sense of being slightly above others, or that we are ‘better’ than others simply because we have been appointed various roles within church and attend more activities in church. We feel as if we are fine in our faith, and that others should imitate us. Often if we allow complacency to stay in our hearts, it can take root and bear fruit as pride. Continue reading