Devotional – Wednesday, June 1, 2022
“How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” (James 2:18b, NLT)
Have you ever noticed how some verses appear to contradict one another? In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he instructs people to ‘let your good deeds shine out for all to see’ (Matthew 5:16), but then turns around and instructs his audience ‘don’t do your good deeds publicly’ (Matthew 6:1). Isn’t he contradicting himself? Not when we view each of these statements in their context. Upon closer inspection we can see that Jesus isn’t actually addressing the topic of good deeds as his main subject, but rather our motivation for doing them.
Jesus tells us in the first instance that our visible good deeds are to cause others to give credit to God for the good they see him doing through and in us. Later, Jesus tells us not to make a display of our good deeds, attempting to gain the approval of people, or we will lose out on our reward. It’s all about our motivation.
Our good deeds are to serve as our proof of our faith in God. We should want to make God look good. However, if we only do good deeds when we are sure to have an audience, we shouldn’t look for God’s approval. God will not be upstaged or be used to gain applause for ourselves.
Bottom line…do our good deeds point people to God or back at ourselves? Think about it. Your motivation matters!
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!