Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Sunday was always the big day. I would get all dressed up and spiffy, and I would put on the show. Walking into the church was like the curtain going up. Yes, I was there to learn and to grow, but that was actually a problem. The thing was, church was the only place that I reserved for that. Listening to the pastor’s message from the pulpit was the only place I learned. As nice as I was to my fellow brothers and sisters in that place, and as generous as I was to help run things every Sunday, that did not necessarily follow me out of that place. Before my leaders and before my brothers and sisters, I was the model to be followed. Unfortunately, that public faithfulness only brought me so much growth. It was not until I began the process of working on my faith for myself in private that I really began to grow.
When we look at our walk of faith through this life, it is important to understand the role of responsibility. Yes, God puts leaders and teachers in place who will be responsible for imparting knowledge, wisdom and guidance to us. That will always be the case. However, that does not mean that we do not have our own responsibility for how we develop spiritually. It is critical to our growth that we take the time and energy to invest in our development in private. The work that God does with us in the secret place when no one is around has an incredible impact on who we become. It is one thing for us to be faithful to God when others are looking. It is quite another thing for us to be faithful to God when only He can see us.
Our secret faithfulness is really about humility. Many times, pride is what makes us want to be the picture of Christianity before others. There is a role we feel we must play, and so we play it. If our faithfulness is something that only surfaces when others are around, then it is merely a show; it is not genuine. What should matter to us is what we are before our Father. Those who truly want to make God happy will take responsibility for their spiritual growth. They will not depend on others for their knowledge or their applause. They will understand that the work they do with God in secret is foundational to their progress. Father, instill in us a sense of responsibility over our sanctification, and keep us faithful when only You are there.