Matthew 5:16 vs. Matthew 6:1

Both of these verses deals with motive.

Matthew 5:16 encourages your "light to shine before men" and "your good deeds" to be seen, SO THAT there might be proper praise given - to God the Father.

Matthew 6:1 discourages you to perform your "acts of righteousness before men," SO THAT you may be seen by them.

If you read Matthew 6 carefully you will see that God desires privacy and intimacy with His family.  Your "righteous acts", "giving to the needy", praying and fasting should all be done in "secret".  In Matthew 6:6 Jesus says, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."  I can just hear God in modern speak encouraging us, "The world does not need to know your business, so get alone with me and tell me what's up."  Now verse eight goes on to say that "your Father in heaven knows what you need before you ask him", but that should not stop us from seeking Him out in private and asking anyway.  I believe He loves those one-on-one times together and the more time we spend with Him like that the more we will too.

I believe the more time we spend with the Lord, the more discernment He will bless us with concerning motive.  We can also make it a point of prayer in our everyday prayers to Him.  Prayer for motive based on the end result being God's Glory.  Why do you encourage, help out a struggling person or family, bless someone with lunch or whatever God lays on your heart?  It should be so that God receives praise out of everything you are doing.  Our lives should be an eternal, worshipful, glorifying display of living to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that draws other believers to praise Him and non-believers to accept Him.

Let us check our motive and make sure to spend some private time with The Lord.  His rewards are awesome!  Men's rewards - not so much.