Daily Devotional: Psalms 37:14-17
14 The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. 15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts, and their bows will be broken. 16 Better the little that the righteous have than the wealth of many wicked; 17 for the power of the wicked will be broken, but the LORD upholds the righteous.
45 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 "Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows' houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely."
Jesus said of these same people that while they were keeping the letter of the law, they were lacking in mercy and compassion. For this reason, he said his disciples’ righteousness must exceed that of the Pharisees. They made sure to “do” all the right things, down to tithing the mint from their gardens, but their hearts were far from God. They practiced these things to be seen of men.
Jesus said that we should obey God even in the small details (nothing God ever says is unimportant), but our hearts must be right with him too. We are not to practice our religion for a show. He told the Samaritan woman at the well that we are to worship in spirit and in truth. Our service to God is to be a reflection of who we are as his people, and of our hearts set on serving God, to his glory.
As we become more like our Lord, it is because we are reflecting his Spirit living in us and changing us. The fruit (result) of the Spirit in us is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When we become what God wants us to be, we will do what he wants us to do. We will practice the good works that God has prepared for us as his children.
To be sure, others will see our lives and our good deeds. But unlike the Pharisees, it will not be done for our own glory, but to the glory of God. Our motive is to be the same as that of Jesus, to do the will of the Father in heaven, to honor him.
O Lord, our Lord and creator God, holy and matchless is your name. Your power is seen in the oceans and the storms. Your beauty is seen in every spring flower that blooms and every bird that sings. Your wisdom is seen in all of nature and in the heavenly bodies as each one moves in its own place. Thank you for caring about me enough to provide a way of eternal life for me. Keep me from ever thinking my life is just about me or about material things. Help me keep focused on you and on the things above. I know I sin and fall short of your glory, so I need your continued forgiveness every day. I pray in the name of Jesus my Savior.