Who Is My Audience?

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels.”

Matthew 23:5

Jewish men in the time of Jesus wore teffilin when they prayed: boxes that were attached to one’s left hand and forehead during daily prayers (see Deut. 6:4-9). They also attached tassels (zizith) to the edges of their robes in obedience to the Torah (Deut. 22:12 and Num. 15:38-41). Jesus was not criticizing the fact that the scribes (religious teachers) and Pharisees followed the law, but rather their intentions in doing so. They were making a show of their religion in order to impress others with their piety.

Though we don’t wear teffilin and zizith, we can easily be tempted to practice our faith for the sake of human approval. Indeed, we can turn the people around us into an audience for our “show.” But God looks upon our hearts. He knows if we’re living to please him or if we’re seeking applause from elsewhere. This passage from Matthew reminds us to live for God’s delight, rather than to get caught in the web of living for human approval.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: Have you ever done religious things for the sake of human approval? What are some of those things? What helps you to live with God as your primary audience?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I’m struck today by how much I seek the approval of others. Not that it’s wrong to receive such affirmation. Indeed, your delight in me is often communicated through others. But there are times, too many to count, I’m afraid, when I am living more for the applause of people than for your applause. Forgive me, Lord, for getting the priorities of my heart so confused.

May I live for your delight today, and every day. May I seek your approval above all, whether I’m at work or at home. As I go through this day, I will make you my primary audience. I’m living for you today, Lord. Amen.