Becoming A Good Person: Part 4
It is much easier for most church goers to be religious than it is to be good and moral. Usually being religious means doing church work, not being holy or led by the Spirit. When we equate being a good person to our participation in church activity, we deceive ourselves into believing that we are good people.
We read about people like this in the Bible. Jesus said to them, ""Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence" (Matthew 23:25). Since it is easier to do religious work rather than to be holy and pure there are many Christians who appear to be wonderful Christians based on their outward work, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.
Being a good person, therefore, is more than just being nice and kind. It means that we are so full of the Holy Spirit, that our good works are produce from a heart of holiness and motivate by love. Many people do good works for show, to convince church members that they are holy and pious. But true good work is motivated by the Spirit, from a pure heart that desires no recognition.
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10).
Our friends, family and neighbors need our good works! They deserve our best encouragement, our kindness and generosity. But can we limit our good works just to those that we know and like? If we withhold being good from those that we may not like or enjoy being around, then our heart is not pure and holy. Jesus said, "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked" (Luke 6:35).
Let's face it, most people find it hard to be kind to the ungrateful and wicked. But we are commanded to love our enemies. I've heard people say, "I love my enemies, but I do not have to do good to my enemies". But look at what Jesus says after he commands us to love our enemies. "Do good to them".
After all, if we truly love someone we will do good to them. So when we withhold doing good and being kind to all people, it reveals that we do not love all people. I contend that in order for us to withhold our good deeds and kindness, we have to be haters. We have to hate others in order to withhold our good works and acts of kindness. Truly, to those who we are not speaker to any more, or to those who we are angry with or bitter toward, these are the ones we truly hate. Who among us would ever want to be accused of hating anyone? But, Jesus tells us our actions reveal the true motive of our heart.
Do not despair. There is still time to ask the LORD to purify our hearts so that we might truly love all people, even those who are ungrateful or wicked. What have you to lose by loving and doing good to all people? But look what you have to gain!
Dear Heavenly Father, what a special blessing it is, to be so filled and led by Your Spirit that we are able to love and to do good to all people. In Jesus' Mighty Name, AMEN!
Re-arranging my life for Christ,
Pastor David L. Burns
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