Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Thoughts on Romans 12; "Let whatever you do be done in secret"
I know Matthew 6 isn't exactly the same chapter as Romans 12 ;). But trust me, I think it is important in connection with this chapter :).
All throughout Romans 12, we are given a list of all the ways that a Christian's life is to be spilling over the love of Christ. How easy it is to be discouraged as we look at all our failings- we'll never be able to get it all right. Or maybe after a day when it has seemed to be easy to display the qualities in this list, we might think that, "Well, we're actually doing pretty good, even if not perfect"... and then "think more highly of our self then we ought to think", as we are warned against in Romans 12:3.
As I thought about this, I thought that this was the perfect time to share a quote from "The Cost of Discipleship", by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This concept, when I ran into it, just made me stop and think about it for a while. It is so simple, and yet not one I think we realize often.
While explaining the verses "Do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing" and "Let your light so shine before men" (Matthew 5:16), Bonhoeffer writes, "How is this paradox to be resolved? The first question to ask is: From who are we to hide the visibility of our discipleship? Certainly not from other men, as we are told to let them see our light. No. We are to hide it from ourselves. Our task is simply to keep on following, looking only to our leader who goes on before, taking no notice of ourselves or of what we are doing. We must be unaware of our own righteousness, and see it only in so far as we look unto Jesus; then it will seem not extraordinary, but quite ordinary and natural. Thus we hide the visible from ourselves in obedience to the word of Jesus. ...The Christian is a light unto the world, not because of any quality of his own, but only because he follows Christ and looks soley to him."
We are to let our light shine; not make our light shine. "Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship" (Romans 12:1). Not for hopes of being noticed (for our work... or for our humility), but simply because as our eyes are focused on Him, we forget all but pleasing Him.