“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.“
Three times in this chapter (verses one, five, and twelve), Jesus commands us to beware of the motivations behind our actions. Each time He warns about doing something to garner praise from others. We are not to be motivated by what others see but by what is going on in our heart, which is the best indicator of our relationship with Jesus.
Action decoupled from the heart is just religion. If someone is not born again, they lean on religion for their salvation believing that their external actions are going to earn their entrance to heaven. In a similar manner, the born-again Christian can fall into the trap of letting their external actions gauge their walk with the Lord. If you are acting based upon an active relationship with God, then your actions are indicating a vibrant faith (James 2:17); otherwise you have drifted from your first love and need to make an active effort to focus on your walk with the Lord and draw close to Him once again (Revelation 2: 4-5).
Drawing close to Jesus,
Pastor Jeff Mericle