How much of what you desire to do, do you not do for fear of being found out, and how much of what you do, do you do in hopes of being seen?
I contest that much of what people do not do they do not do because of not only the fear of being found out, but of the moral culpable thoughts within their own mind, in other words because they will feel guilty.
“And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” (Gen. 4:10) We are not told if Cain responded to these words from the Lord beyond “I know not, am I my brothers keeper?” (Gen. 4:9), if he cowered on the ground, stood in defiance of the Lord, or tried to run and hide as his parents did long before, and I believe it is impossible to use any form of conjecture as to his thoughts in this matter. There are only two facts presented in the Scriptures, he killed his brother, and was only concerned with the personal repercussions of his act.
“And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.” (Gen. 4:13) Did he attempt to hide Abel’s body, did he feel great remorse, was he concerned if the Almighty saw what he did? Was he afraid of being found out?
“And they sent the coat of many colours, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son’s coat or no.” (Gen. 37:32) Those sons of Jacob tried to hide the fact of what they did from their father, they knew Joseph was alive, at least the last time they saw him in the hands of the slave traders, but as far as Joseph thought, he was dead. The years of sorrow they saw Jacob go through, the pain and anguish they watched him live with did not bother them as much as the truth being found out about what they did.
“But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numb 32:23)
The point of all this is this, how much of what you desire to do but do not do, do you not do because God is watching and He will know? Is the fear of being found out greater than your love of the Lord, is your obedience regulated by the possibility of personal repercussions, of possible punishments, or by love?
Now we must spend a moment or two on the inverse of all this, do you seek for rewards for being obedient to the will and Word of God, how much recognition do you crave when the deeds you do, which you say are being done for the glory of God, do you want to be noticed for? Do you keep a record of your giving in the financial area so you can write it off on your taxes? Is there a plaque somewhere attached to something that reads “Donated by” with your name on it? Is there a framed piece of paper in your house somewhere that starts with the words “In recognition of …” with your name on it? Is every single act that that you do solely for the glory of God supposed to be done in secret, and if you believe that, does not pride also lay at the doorstep of those actions?
The glory, all the glory indeed belongs to the Most High. “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5) But if you spend all your time trying to hide the fact that you serve Christ out of love, who is ever going to know that you indeed live your life for Him?
If you never admit your faults to one another as James 5:16 says we are to, how will your brothers and sisters in Christ know how to pray for you? It is a very fine line we try to tread in this life, the flesh, the old nature desires, even demands recognition, yet tries to hide that which it sees as embarrassing, that which will bring upon us chastisement in any form, while at the same time we search out how to live a life pleasing to our Lord and Savior.
The verse stands as truth, the lost and those who have determined to remain on a certain part of the path, who do not any longer seek the face of God for His glory cannot comprehend the battle we fight. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (1 Cor. 15:19)
The man of God constantly says, “I want what I do not want, and I want everyone to know what I have.” What should we attempt to conceal and what should we do openly when the knowledge of the truth is known to us? “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psalm 139:7)