29 October 2013

BSF 2013-2014: Matthew 6

Between the sermons at church and my weekly BSF lessons, it seems like God is really trying to speak to me and change me to become more like Him. The lessons in Matthew 6 are no different. And there were so many application questions this week that really struck me. So get ready for a long list of “things to think about!”

In Matthew 6, Jesus is still giving His Sermon on the Mount. He continues to teach His followers about His high standard for living the Christian life.

Jesus starts by telling us not to give, pray and fast for others to see us. Instead, He tells us to give, pray and fast in secret. Giving includes sharing money, clothes and time with the needy. Am I giving only so I’m noticed by other people? Why do I give? Would I still give if no one ever knew I did it?

Jesus says we shouldn’t pray for others to see or hear us. Instead, we should go to a quiet place to pray. He tells us not to be like the hypocrites. They prayed their personal prayer requests aloud in public places, such as synagogues and street corners. The hypocrites also prayed while standing instead of acting reverently toward God. Am I praying only so I’m noticed by other people? Why do I pray? Would I still pray if no one ever knew I did it?

Next, Jesus discusses fasting. Fasting is giving up food to study the Bible and pray. It is a self-discipline that was required only one day a year for the Jews until Jesus was born. Fasting is still acceptable today when done with the proper heart attitude. Just like giving and praying, our fasting should be done silently. Am I fasting only so I’m noticed by other people? Why do I fast? Would I still fast if no one ever knew I did it?

Then Jesus addresses our treasures. He tells us not to store up treasures on earth and not to have double vision. Instead, we should store up treasures in heaven and have a single focus. We store treasures in heaven by obeying God. And double vision is seeking praise for both God and myself, while single vision is seeking praise for God alone.

Finally, Jesus talks about worry. He instructs us not to worry about life, food, drink and clothes. Instead, we should seek His kingdom and His righteousness. We don’t need to worry because God knows what we need. He is a responsible Father and will meet our needs. Worry will not add any time to our lives. Worry is showing that I don’t trust God. God promises to take care of my needs.

Things to Think About
  • Do I privately give, pray and fast?
  • Is God receiving the glory when I give, pray and fast?
  • If I give, pray and fast for the praise of men, I will not receive anything from God. If I do it in secret, God will reward me.
  • If everything was taken from me, would I still love God? Is He my most treasured possession?
  • The same God who created my life can be trusted with the details of my life.
  • When worry creeps in, consider: God loves me. God cares for me. God sees me. God knows my need. God knows when I need it. My job is to trust Him.