Praise him – Day 16
Examine your actions
In a performance-driven society, people’s work abilities are compared to each other and your value as a person and as a “commodity” are often measured in this way. It is inevitable that we are influenced by this: We look at ourselves through other people’s eyes and judge our actions against their performances. Needless to say, we soon realise that there are always people who are better or worse than us and that realisation often gives rise to feelings of either superiority or inferiority.
And yet from Galatians 6:4-5 it is obvious what your and my attitude should be concerning our own work; we must investigate, assess and test our own actions (not other’s) or to put it another way, we must look at what we do through a magnifying glass. So often there are ulterior motives behind our work efforts – we want to impress people, we want to earn other people’s respect, we do things out of envy, we simply want to brag. The only measure for your actions is that it must be good. According to Colossians 3:23 the only benchmark for “good” is God’s standard: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”. Measured against this, you can be rightly proud of what you do without comparing your work to anybody else.
You see, the end result of the magnifying glass strategy is that we can enter into the Lord’s presence without shame or embarrassment when we have to account for our actions. And he is indeed going to demand an account: “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God” (Romans 14:10-12).
In the light of these verses, we can relax when we do our work or good deeds. God does not judge us by human standards, also not by our own standards, but by his standard, and that is never above our capabilities. Therefore, resolve that everything you do, you will do for him and his approval.