“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1 NASB)

The story of Henry Ford is both a fascinating and an inspiring one. His invention of the T-Model car ushered in an era of mechanical production and advance in civilization unheard of until his time. Thousands were swept along by new possibilities in travel as well as lifestyles heretofore unimagined. But by further examining his life story, I also experienced a profound sadness to learn of the way his life ended. Apparently, his ambition for public notoriety; his estrangement from his only son, topped off by his personal, unfounded hatred for God’s people, the Jews, were his undoing. What was the source of these tragic outcomes? No one will know for sure of the motives of the heart. But one thing is evident…The fruit born in a life is a manifestation of a root cause. Take God off His throne and place Man there and no matter how much may be accomplished through talent, gift and ambition it, ultimately, will not be blessed.

Carnal ambition and coveting the praise of men is not a lifestyle of the kingdom of God. Many a gifted man or woman who serves in the public arena has fallen prey to the twins called “Power and Popularity.” King David wisely wrote, “Once God has spoken; twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God”(Psalm 62:11 NASB). Humility is the instrument that balances the weight of power in the kingdom of God.


Jesus warned His disciples about “practicing their righteousness before men to be noticed by them”. He said, you might be rewarded in the eyes of men but “have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”(C.f. Matthew 6:1,5,16) Humility is not a sense of self-loathing but a condition of the heart. It is an awareness of the supreme gift of God’s love and grace extended toward you. And with that awareness of what God has done for you there comes a deep desire to live for Him and serving others. The psalmist reflecting on the saving mercy of God toward him acknowledged, “You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds me; And Your gentleness makes me great. (Psalm 18:35 NASB)


Jesus teaches us that humility is rooted in a lifestyle of faith. Roots represent the “hidden life” of the believer. Roots are not something that is deeds put on for display or show. Rather they are the source of the secret wellsprings of your heart, that which is done out of the motive of love for God. Yeshua (Jesus) teaches us that the hidden life will be manifested to the eye of the Father WHEN and by HOW you:


“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. ” (Matthew 6:2 NASB)


“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”(Matthew 6:5, 6 NASB)


“Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:16-18 NASB)


“The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light….”No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth…. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “(Matthew 6:22, 24, 33 NASB)

These teachings of Jesus need no explanation. They need practice. The things that are hard for man are not impossible with God. Our Lord Jesus said, in essence, “If you want to really know what my teaching is all about, you must be willing to put my words into practice”. Understanding His words comes by taking the journey of the hidden life, the road of loving obedience. By His Word of promise (and your faithful attention to it) the root of the righteous will flourish.


(c) Copyright 2013, Walter Fletcher,Jr. All rights are reserved. This article may be shared free of charge provided that it is not altered in anyway from it’s original content. Please address all correspondence to:


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