When Jesus preached His historic Sermon on the Mount, He began with the foundation for all activities in seeking and serving God: attitude. If one’s attitude is not right, all the “good” in the world is irrelevant. Most religious practice today has Christians focus on the things we must do to please God (Ephesians 2:10). Whereas the works in which we engage ourselves to live an acceptable Christian life are imperative (Philippians 2:12), they are merely symptoms of a heart condition.
We all know that we cannot fool God. He knows our heart; He knows everything (Psalm 44:21). However, we do not read minds; we cannot know the heart. Our only indicator of someone’s heart is in their actions and speech. Jesus claimed, “Therefore, by their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20). The real influence killer for the child of God is when those with very limited knowledge get a peek at the real you or me. What do they see?
As Christians, we open themselves up to the rankest and most justified criticism of our confession when they “say, and do not” (Matthew 23:3). In fact, a member of the Lord’s church can become the greatest liability that the body of Christ could possibly have. This challenge is not new since early Christians faced the same shortfalls. Paul warns the church in Rome, “Let not then your good be evil spoken of” (Romans 14:16).
If we want to be effective for the cause of Christ, we must focus on our attitude. This is not to say that our conduct is unimportant, for by it the world sees us for what and who we are. However, if our attitude is wrong, the playacting at Christianity will inevitably reveal itself for the hypocrisy it is. Instead, we ought to be living the Life (John 14:6).