Summary: There are some serious pests in your secret life that can kill your witness if they are left unchecked. Here’s how to identify and remedy with them.
Why do some Christians fall away? Why do some seem to start off the Christian life with incredible enthusiasm – and then they appear to give up? In this section of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus examines that part of the Christian life that no one else can see; your secret life with God. And when it comes to high impact Christian living, there are some serious pests in your secret life that can kill your witness if they are left unchecked. These are the secret killers of a high impact life.
1. HYPOCRISY WILL KILL YOUR IMPACT.
"Be careful not to do your `acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven (Matthew 6:1 NIV).
When it comes to living the Christian life, it is possible to be a Christian in name only. It’s what you write on your census return. You do Christian things – like go to church and help people. You might even pray – but your prayers are more like a reciting some magical formula than having a heart to heart conversation with God. I was a Christian hypocrite. There was a time in my life when the only reason I called myself a Christian was because I was so petrified of going to hell! I had no personal relationship with Jesus. So I was a Christian by name only. Going through the motions because I thought that would earn me God’s favour. This is hypocrisy – and hypocrisy is the first silent killer of the high impact life.
2. ENSLAVEMENT TO MATERIALISM WILL KILL YOUR IMPACT.
Materialism enslaves us.
a. First it can enslave your heart.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matthew 6:21).
Who owns your heart; Cash or Christ?
b. Second materialism enslaves your mind.
"The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)
The Bible often uses the eye to represent the attitudes of the mind. If the “mind’s eye” is experiencing double vision then the result is unsteadiness in life. Jesus uses the word “darkness.” Darkness can include uncertainty, lack of direction, and confusion. A double minded person, thinking in two directions will lack impact.
c. And third, materialism enslaves your will.
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money (Matthew 6:24).
Our will, our freedom and ability to choose, can be enslaved.
3. UNDERVALUING YOURSELF WILL KILL YOUR IMPACT.
" … See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:28b-30)
Sometimes we undervalue ourselves – we sell ourselves short. Sometimes we feel less valuable to God than even grass in a paddock. One of the most effective ways to kill a high impact (salt and light) kind of life is to think that God doesn’t see you; To believe that your life is so insignificant that God doesn’t even notice it.
These are complete generalizations, but more often than not …
A) Women often say to themselves, “I can’t do anything because God doesn’t notice me.”
B) Men say, “I can do anything because God can’t see me!”
Both extremes reveal a devaluation of the self – and both can kill a very effective, high impact life.
4. WORRY WILL KILL YOUR IMPACT.
It’s been said that worry is like a rocking chair - - - it will give you something to do but it won’t get you very far. Jesus said,
… do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34).
Worry will kill the high impact life because it is incompatible with faith. Faith and anxiety are like chalk and cheese.
Here’s how to inoculate yourself against these four pests that can kill a high impact life:
A) Intimacy with God
To eliminate hypocrisy you must develop intimacy with God.
i) Do you even know him? Perhaps you have a suspicion that you might be a Christian in name only. Do something about it today.
ii) If you do know him do you serve him only or are you seeking the approval of others? Jesus said that when … “your Father sees what is done in secret, [he] will reward you (Matthew 6:4, 6, 16).