Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” is an admonition to trust God for everything. This trust is commended for those who are suffering and still striving for righteousness in Matthew 5:3-12. The believers are told to trust God to bring about effective change through their holy living in 5:12-16. Those who felt the burden of the Law were told about the promise of Christ who came to bear the Law for them (Matt. 5:17-20). Then Jesus began to describe the responsibilities of those who trust God.
Those who trust God for everything are free to live without hate (Matt. 5:21-26). They are free to live without bondage to lust (Matt. 5:27-30). They are free to enjoy their marriage without pursuing another (Matt. 5:31-32). These believers are even free from the desires of vengeance because they trust God to make all things right (Matt. 5:38-48).
These believers are also free to live for God and not for the applause of others. This life for God is freeing. Just think of all the time you have wasted trying to get people to like you and to like your Facebook posts. Wouldn’t it be better to live for God and trust in his infinite love that he has covered you in Christ?
As Jesus taught on private service for holy reward, he spoke directly to a great trouble in our culture—the desire for constant approval. Jesus said, “Take heed that you do not do your righteousness before men to be seen of them: else ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 6:1). Instead of a publicist, the Christian should seek private service. So, Jesus taught us to do our good works without sounding a trumpet (or posting on Facebook). Jesus said, “when thou doest thine alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth; that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee” (Matt. 6:4). When we pray, Jesus said, “enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who sees in secret shall recompense thee” (Matt. 6:6).
Ultimately, we have to ask who we serve and what sort of reward we want. Do we serve our own pride? Do we serve others to earn their approval? Will we be satisfied with this world? Do we long only to be with God?