Have you ever worked so hard on something only to have your effort go unnoticed? Or worse, has someone else taken the credit you deserve? I have, and if you have too then maybe you’ve also struggled with bitterness.
Bitterness is one of the most destructive and dangerous human emotions, and if it’s not dealt with it can destroy a person. Bitterness can rob you of your peace and joy. It is an open door for Satan to control your life. It can hurt or destroy your relationship with your family, a friend, or even a coworker.
But we want to be recognized. We want credit where credit is due.
But God doesn’t call us to get the credit. Let me repeat, God does not call us to get the credit!
And in Matthew 6, Jesus clearly warns us against the credit trap:
“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding (Matthew 6:1, The Message). Jesus urges us to give with pure motives that please God. Jesus’ primary concern is with your motives. God looks at the heart (motive) before the hand (action)! If your motives are to hear people “ooh and ah” over your righteousness, you have your reward…but it is on earth, not in heaven.
“And when you come before God, don’t turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?” (Matthew 6:5). If you are going to church, or doing a good deed, or helping the poor, or praying to God, or performing some religious duty in order to gain the admiration of the people around you then it doesn’t mean anything to God.
God looks at the heart (motive) before the hand (action)!
Yes, life is filled with disappointment. People fail. We all have forgotten something we agreed to do. All of us have acted in anger rather than love. Things don’t always go the way we expect, but one thing we do have control over is how we respond. We should not act in a way of revenge or retreat but in renewal:
“Consider it my pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4).
James is saying that when we retreat or retaliate in revenge we are short-circuiting God’s work in our lives. God’s purpose in the hard times is to refine us, to train, develop, and use us. So over time when you and I are dealing with a disappointing situation, we need to remember that we are in God’s laboratory. He is working on us and in us.
I may not know what you are struggling with today, but if it is a bitter heart I pray that you find comfort in these words. May God help you focus on the opportunities rather than the obstacles. The growth rather than the pain. The goal rather than the process.
While it does sting a little when we may not get the recognition we deserve or somebody else gets what should have been ours, we can find comfort in knowing that God sees all and knows all.
He’s seen our hard work, and He knows who did it.
And Jesus reminds us that it’s not even about us getting the credit as much as it is about giving the credit, and all credit, worship, and honor belongs to God.
So here’s what we should do, “…Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense His grace” (Matthew 6:6).
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