Ever done something wrong in private? Do you have bad habits? Habits that if anyone found out about, you'd be ashamed and embarrassed. Habits that nobody would associate with you on the surface.
I think all of us do, don't we? If we're really honest.
Its easy to hide these away from everyone, including ourselves. Because no one talks about their bad habits, then its easy to forget you're doing something wrong, isn't it?
The problem is that there is one person none of us can hide from. Who sees it all. Jesus.
Often people talk about one of the most important things to possess to have real Christian maturity is character.
Character is what God will ultimately judge us on, because its to do with how we live and what we've done and haven't done. In private. Because in private, we start to see who we really are. We're not putting on a show for anyone, consciously or subconsciously.
We need to stop running from our bad habits. We need to stop hiding.
We need to be honest with ourselves.
If we want to live like Jesus and become like Him, if we want to follow Him, then we need to do this. We need to accept our mistakes. We need to be honest and accept we've screwed up. Then we need to ask God to forgive us. To forgive us and help us truly be forgiven, but turning around completely and changing our habits. Making the things we do in private good things.
There's a reason Jesus said that it was good to keep what you give private. Because what you give in private will come from your heart, not a desire to impress.
The habits we have in private will ultimately impact what happens on the outside. It will bear fruit in what we do, in how we treat people, how people perceive us and what we will achieve.
What we do in private impacts who we become in public.
If we make good choices in private - in our living, giving, reading and behaviour, if we feed on God's word, if we avoid wrong habits and cut them out of our lives, if we invest time in our relationship with Jesus in all the different ways you can - prayer, Bible study, worship, reading, social action, serving, giving, treating people everywhere with love, grace and forgiveness, living the way of Jesus in private as well as in public, then we will reap the reward.
The reward? A deeper relationship with Jesus, a deeper knowledge of God, but most of all you will discover more about who you are.
You see, you will only see the real you when you see yourself in the light of Jesus. When you see yourself the way you were meant to be, not how everyone perceives you or even how you perceive yourself.
When you see yourself through the eyes of Jesus, the possibilities are endless. Isn't that worth fighting for, working for, committing to?
I'm up for the journey.
Are you? The invitation is there for all of us...