Growing up, I was very good at being the “good girl.” For years this had more to do with gaining people’s approval than it had to do with a desire to please Christ. Perhaps this is commonplace for people who grow up going to church. Sunday School has done well to teach us the commands of our Savior, but in our immaturity we neglect to realize that doing good things is supposed to be in response to Christ, not in place of Him.
Andrew Murray gives us a barometer of sorts to measure whether this temptation is once again guiding our behavior. He writes:
Humility is the bloom and the beauty of holiness. The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is its lack of humility.
In other words, the process of becoming like Christ, of being made holy, is characterized by humility. This should not surprise us as our Savior was the epitome of humility and “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Phil. 2:6). However, when we are “faking” holiness – when we are good not for the sake of Christ but for the sake of man’s approval – humility is not present. This is because we are seeking to get acclaim for ourselves, rather than using our lives for the glory of God.
This provides a useful test to examine our behavior. If our lives are about giving God praise, we will not care if we get the applause we think we deserve for our decisions and our actions. If this is our concern, then we need to repent, and ask God to make us more like His Son – in humility, and in holiness.