There is an old saying, “The real you is who you are when you are alone and no one else is around.”
If this saying has merit, and I believe it does, then when no one is around, who are you? Does your public persona match who your are when no one else is around? Are you as sensitive toward spiritual matters in private as you appear to be in public?
I think that is one of the challenges of living the Christian life, that we are as consistent in our private life as we appear to be in our public life. We certainly don’t want to be known as “ who you are speaks so loud that I can’t hear what you are saying,”
Jesus addressed this issue in His sermon on the mount. In Matthew 6 He speaks about man’s tendency to “showboat” when it comes to good deeds. He said, “Don’t do your good deeds publicly to be admired by others…don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” (Matthew 6:1,3 NLT)
Further on in that same chapter, Jesus addresses the issue of prayer. He said don’t pray in public so that you can be seen, but pray in private. He said,“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly…I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get…but when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private.” (Matthew 6:5-6 NLT)
Jesus’ implication throughout this passage is authentic faith. It involves being consistent outwardly with who you are in private. They should be the same person. This kind of life yields transparency, authenticity and consistency. It’s at this point that our life becomes salt and light. Those we encounter will see real faith in action and it will draw them to Jesus.
How do we make sure that who we are in private is who we want to be in public?
1. Live out of your identity in Christ. We have been given the life of Christ within us, so walk in that identity. (Romans 6)
2. Endeavor to practice humility. Humility is not a spiritual gift, but occurs as we surrender more of out life to Christ’s control. (John 15:5)
3. Practice surrendering your rights and expectations of others so that you can love and serve them without expecting something in return.
4. Practice trusting God daily and having a thankful heart. (I Thessalonians 5:18)
5. Make regular prayer a priority. A personal private prayer life is usually an indication of the depth of spirituality and the degree of trust in God. It’s not how long you pray, but prayer is the communication gateway to fellowship with your Heavenly Father. (Philippians 4:6-7 )
The end result will be “who you are in private will be who you become in public – a humble, authentic follower of Jesus.”
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less, and others more.