6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
One of the dangers when we do good things for God is that our vanity slips in, and we do these deeds to be noticed by others. All of us need affirmation from others, but Jesus warns his followers not to be motivated by it. He is, in this context, criticizing the religious leaders who were often guilty of doing good things to get the applause of others. Religious leaders are often most tempted by being recognized by their deeds, so it may be seen that they “practice what they preach”. It is part of our human nature to do good deeds to be recognized for them. However, as the passage indicates, when we are praised by others we have received our reward in full. In contrast, if we are content with God’s seeing what we do in secret, we will receive His reward. The next several devotions will deal with how we can give in “secret” to crucify the flesh and its need for vainglory.
Jesus, you modeled giving in humility. You humbled yourself and became a servant. As we have the opportunity to do the works you have called us to, may we seek your reward only. Amen.