Matthew 6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
In every way possible, the Lord calls His people to be different from the world. Any Bible student can readily demonstrate that those of the world do what they do in order to promote and preserve themselves. Unfortunately, the same holds true for Christians who are not walking with the Lord as they should. Both the saved and the lost can do good things which appear spiritual such as praying, fasting, witnessing, going to church, giving financially, and reading the Bible. However, it is the motive that counts—whether fleshly or godly. It is imperative that each believer not only do what is right, but also examine himself to make sure that he is doing what is right for the right reasons. He should pray, fast, witness, give, and attend church for the glory and pleasure of God.
∙ (For children): God wants you to be able to tell if what you do for Him is for the right reason. We need to invite God and His word to examine us (Psalm 26:2; Hebrews 4:12), and we need to examine ourselves for this very reason (Lamentations 3:40; 2 Corinthians 13:5a).
∙ (For everyone): Do you pray? If so, why? Do you read your Bible? If so, why? Do you attend church? If so, why? Do you give financially to the work of God? If so, why? However, if you do not do these things, why not?
∙ Why is it crucial that you not only examine your works, but also the motives behind your works?
∙ Ask God to show you the true nature of your motives.
∙ Ask the Lord to give you a willing heart to fix your motives.
SONG: SEARCH ME, O GOD