BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
“Then he said to them, ‘You like to look good in public, but God knows your evil hearts” (Luke 16:15a New Living Translation).
It is one thing to look good, but quite another thing to do good. Do you like to look good or do good? The pursuit of some people is to look good rather than do good. They do everything to impress people while hiding their true identity. Jesus told the Pharisees, “You like to look good in public, but God knows your evil hearts” (Luke 16:15a New living Translation).
Some people engage in pretence to make themselves acceptable to others; they are fake. They have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). I love the way the New Living Translation renders that verse. “They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” (2 Timothy 3:5).
Titus 1:16 says, “Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good” (New Living Translation). Our business shouldn’t be to make ourselves look good to people, but to do good to people.
Two Kinds of good works
There are two kinds of good works a person can do. There is the good work that is hidden from others. It is mostly done not in the full glare of the public; therefore, it may not be appreciated by people. This kind of good work is not attractive to those who are attention-seekers or those seeking public recognition. This kind of work may be hidden from the public and doers may not be applauded by people, but it is not hidden from God.
The other kind of good work a person can do is the one that is done in public and is recognized and applauded. The natural man prefers this to the former. “In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light” (1Timothy 5:25 New Living Translation).
God has not called us to look good to people; He has called us to do good to people. Jesus redeemed us and purified us to be zealous for good works (Titus 2:14). And the Bible says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 New King James Version).
We have no business trying to impress people by our good works or refraining from doing good works because people are not watching us and will not commend us. Our mandate is to do good and not to call attention to ourselves, otherwise we would have received our reward. “Take care not to do your good works before men, to be seen by them; or you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. When then you give money to the poor, do not make a noise about it, as the false-hearted men do in the Synagogues and in the streets, so that they may have glory from men. Truly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you give money, let not your left hand see what your right hand does: So that your giving may be in secret; and your Father, who sees in secret, will give you your reward” (Matthew 6:1-4 Bible in Basic English).
That does not mean that it is a sin to do good deeds publicly if that is the only appropriate thing to do at such a time. What Jesus condemned in that scripture is hypocrisy, playing to the gallery or exhibitionism. The real issue is the motive behind the good deeds you do publicly.
Jesus did His good deeds in public, but that did not mean that He was seeking people’s attention. Acts 10:38 says, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him”(New King James Version). Speaking about His ministry vis-a-vis the attack against Him, Jesus said in John 10:32, “At my Father’s direction I have done many good works. For which one are you going to stone me?” (New Living Translation).
As a believer in Christ Jesus, you should devote yourself to doing good by following His example rather than go about trying to look good while your life is devoid of good works. “This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone” (Titus 3:8 New Living Translation). This truth is emphasized further in Titus 3:14: “Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive” (New Living Translation). Notice that this scripture says to learn to do good, not to look good.
Spiritual leaders are not excluded from this. They are not to preach about it only; they must be an example of good works. Their focus should be to do good, not to look good. “And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind” (Titus 2:7 New Living Translation).
The rich must do good, not look good
The Bible has the same word for those who are rich. “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life” (1Timothy 6:17-19 New Living Translation).
It should not surprise one that the Bible has to specifically tell the rich to do good works, because there is a tendency for rich people to be stingy, selfish and uncaring. Most of them will not do good works if it will not attract media publicity or if it is not tied to any public award or recognition. Their philanthropic deeds have strings attached to them, such as conferment of honours, votes of the electorates, and favour from government. But these are not the conditions in the Bible for doing good deeds. In Mark 14:7a, Jesus said, “For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good” (New King James Version).
Men and women must do good
There is no gender exclusion in doing good deeds. The demand is upon both men and women. Women are to do good works rather than seeking to look good. “For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do” (1 Timothy 2:10 New Living Translation). And according to the Bible, doing good deeds is a precondition for a widow to be on the list of widows the church will take care of. “A widow who is put on the list for support must be a woman who is at least sixty years old and was faithful to her husband. She must be well respected by everyone because of the good she has done. Has she brought up her children well? Has she been kind to strangers and served other believers humbly? Has she helped those who are in trouble? Has she always been ready to do good?” (1 Timothy 5:9-10 New Living Translation).
Dorcas was an example of good works by women. She was full of good works “There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor” (Acts 9: 36 New Living Translation). She was such a generous woman that the many widows who benefitted from her generosity wanted her to be raised back to life. Thankfully, God used Peter for this miracle after the believers in Joppa had sent for him in Lydda. Only God knows what those widows would have done to Peter if Dorcas had not come back to life! But thank God, she did.
Conclusion: Christianity is synonymous with doing good deeds. Christianity without good deeds contradicts the Bible. The entire Bible is a manual of instructions on how to do good rather than how to look good. The Scriptures equip us to do every good work (2 Timothy 3:19 New Living Translation). The pursuit of this will make our Christianity practical and relevant to our generation. I pray that you will do good and not merely look good. Go and do good to somebody right away, and you will be blessed.
If you’re not born again, I urge you to take the following steps:*Admit you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start to attend a Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. There you’ll be taught how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I’m a sinner and I can’t save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent and confess my sins. I confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and surrender my life to him today. I invite Jesus into my heart today. By this prayer, I know I’m saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you’ve said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You’ll need to join a Bible believing, Bible teaching church in your area where you’ll be taught how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I’ll be glad to hear from you. May the Lord be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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