Continued from here.
Before moving on, let’s focus on Grace in the graphic from the last blog entry. People tend to judge one another by what they do, but God is much more concerned about who we are. So, as two people do the same thing (such as giving to the poor), people would see them as the same while God might see them radically differently.
The purpose of doing what God says to do is to transform you into Christlikeness. This only happens if you allow yourself to change, which is why the Bible talks about God loving a cheerful giver. If you are doing the right things for the wrong reasons, then transformation won’t take place, which is why Jesus came down so hard on the Pharisees. Jesus told them to clean the inside of the cup, and then the outside would be clean.
Doing what God tells us to do is putting on the breastplate of righteousness. It empowers us to do what He tells us to do with His help because most of what He tells us to do is impossible without Him. As we act in obedience to God — out of love for God, he cleanses the inside, which produces fruit on the outside.
Where the Pharisees went wrong, as well as the legalists of today, is that they attempted to do the things the Bible tells us to do but for the wrong reasons. They were not seeking internal transformation: they sought to “do better” than other people, which fed their pride … and that’s the key to the state of your heart. If you give to the poor out of love for God, you grow in humility. However, if you give to the poor to “be a better Christian” than other people, you grow in pride and become a whitewashed tomb.
Never compare what you do to what someone else does. The Bible tells us to act justly but to love mercy, so I must hold myself accountable for doing what God tells me to do while, at the same time, extend grace to you when you don’t. My focus must always be on God, not on other people, and I must never compare myself to other people to puff myself up about what a “good Christian” I am. Keep your focus on God, do what He tells you to do, and you will transform.