When Jesus preached the sermon on the mount, there were three specific things that He warned against doing for the wrong reason. What were they and what do they have in common?
1. Jesus warned against giving for the wrong reason.
When someone gives in order to impress others than the praise of people is their reward. When we give for the glory of God than we have a greater reward than the praise of man. ( Matthew 6:2-4)
2. Jesus warned against praying for the wrong reason.
Praying loudly and to be seen by others is praying for the wrong reason. We don't pray so that other people will hear us and think that we are very righteous, we pray to worship God and to be in a relationship with Him. This is when Jesus teaches the disciples the Lord's Prayer.
3. Jesus warned against fasting for the wrong reason.
When someone stops eating and makes sure everyone knows it and asks them about it, that is for the wrong reason. Jesus says even when you are fasting to still wash your face and take care of yourself. We don't fast for others, but for the glory of God.
Do you see a similarity among these warnings? All three of these things are meant to give God glory, not bring us glory. Everyone who does these things for their own glory has already received their reward. But when we do them for the right reason- God's glory, we will have a far better reward from our Father in heaven than we could ever have from the praise of men. The praises of men are temporary, but the rewards from God are everlasting!