How’s Your Appetite?
The mark of healthy life is appetite.
‘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.’ (Matthew 6:1)
Our Christian life is either drawn along by the appetites of our heart or driven by obligations imposed on us. To use the language of Scripture, we are either motivated by life that comes from within or by law which is imposed from without.
Jesus frequently warned against being driven purely by external obligation. In Matthew 6 He talked about the Pharisees doing their acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. That was their motivation and they received their reward in full: the sense that other people were watching them – though of course, most people see right through it. Jesus tells us instead to do our acts of righteousness in secret before God. It’s not that there is particular virtue in secrecy, but that what goes on in secret expresses the truth.
Jesus talks about the acts of giving, praying and fasting, and then says, ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth…But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven’ (Matthew 6:19-20). He is not changing the subject, for the whole context is about being ‘rewarded in full,’ by applause in the immediate present, or by ‘your father who sees what is done in secret.’ Spiritual hunger comes from the Spirit of God in us as an appetite, and we are free to follow it, whereas obligation comes from the law externally and keeps us in bondage. Both give us our reward and give evidence of our treasure – human applause or pleasing God.
Is your life based on pleasing others or pleasing God?
Bible in one year: Psalm 45 | Numbers 9