Matthew 6:1-18

In politics, people can fall into the trap that it's not who you are, but who people think you are that counts.

Giving, praying and fasting are pillars in Jewish faith. Jesus shines a light on the Pharisees' motivation behind doing these good acts (they seemed to think that there wasn't a point in doing those things unless someone was there to witness).

Pious Jews were expected to pray 3 times a day, but if they planned to be out where the crowds were during those dedicated times just to show to as many people as possible how "spiritual" they were, than that is the most reward they can expect to receive. Jesus says this kind of behaviour is a hypocritical inconsistency with who God wants us to be. It gives the impression that they are doing good things because they care about the people and God, but really they are doing these things for self-promotion and praise. God sees the heart and does not approve. 

Who are we trying to please? The problem is not doing good deeds, it is the motivation behind doing them - be more concerned with your character (private image) not your reputation (public image). Jesus' reputation among men differed from his character in front of God (people called him names and wanted to kill him, but God was pleased with him and he brought God glory). 

Allow the spirit of God to challenge us. When we find the tendency to seek applause, Jesus says to practice the discipline of secrecy (confess your sins and hide your good deeds). Don't fall into the temptation of congratulating yourself. Do things out of genuine care and love, not as a tally for you to count up. God sees and is a God who wants to reward.