41. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. -Matthew 6:9-13 Context: Matthew 6:7-15
The Lord’s Prayer given here is so wonderful! It is filled with the way we should think in prayer! We should remember that God is holy, completely different than we are, filled always withy absolutely pure motives. We should desire His rule and His will always, not merely asking Him to bless what we have decided to do! We should thank Him for all of life’s blessings and His provision. We should have forgiving hearts towards those who have hurt us, even as God has forgiven us in Christ Jesus! This beautiful prayer should serve as a model for us to be God focused and saturated in our praying. It can be meaningful when believers recite the exact words together, but we need to be careful not to recite it without really having a prayerful spirit. Just two verses before I in Matthew 6:7 Jesus warned against vain recitations in prayer! May the Lord’s Prayer never be that for a believer!
42. Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. -Mathew 6:16-18
Notice that Jesus said, “when” you fast, not “if” you fast! We do not fast to twist God’s arm and “make” Him respond (as if our actions could!). We fast to humbly express our dependence on Him. When the inevitable “rumbly in our tummy” appears, it will remind us to pray! Many times after a big meal, we feel not like praying but taking a nap! We are so connected to the physical, sensory world through eating, and rightfully so. Food is the fuel that keeps us going! When God leads us to fast through a meal, or two, or more, we are training our flesh that there is more to life than “bread alone.” The key is not the fasting itself, but more time and focus in prayerful communion with our Heavenly Father!
43. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -Matthew 6:19-21
These are very tough verses for the average American Christian! From childhood we have gloried in our possessions and accomplishments! As teenagers we feel incomplete if we don’t have cars. As adults we want big houses. We work very hard to have enough resources to retire early. Now it is clear from Scripture that we must take care of our own families, and there is nothing super-spiritual about holding back any necessity your family members need. But Jesus tells us here that for His followers He is not nearly as interested in us raising our standard of living as He is us raising our standard of giving! As families we should love Jesus enough to seriously evaluate how much of our “treasure” is spent on things that don’t really last. As individuals and families who want to make a difference for Jesus we should press on in storing up treasure in Heaven by our actions that meet real needs, by our giving, and by our intentionally witnessing to other people!
44. No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (money). -Matthew 6:24
Don’t let money be your master, Christian! The Bible is quite clear that you will face many difficulties if you have the wrong attitude about money, viewing yourself as the owner of it instead of God. God wants us to be stewards of the resources He has entrusted us with, and to use them to advance His kingdom on earth. If instead you constantly think of how much YOU possess, the reality may very well be that those things possess you! You can’t take it with you when you die, but you can send it ahead! That is, you can store up treasure in Heaven by using your possessions to advance Christ’s Kingdom now! Thank God for mission – minded Christians, and for mission – minded churches!
45. Therefore, do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear.’ -Matthew 6:31 Context: Matthew 6:25-32
Believers are commanded by our Lord Jesus not to worry. This may be the most disobeyed command for the average Christian! Interestingly, the things Jesus says not to worry about are all things we do need: food, drink, and clothing. Jesus is not saying ‘don’t eat, drink or be clothed,’ but He is clearly confronting our preoccupation with these things throughout a day. He is saying our spiritual faith should take priority over our physical needs. What would happen in your life if you began to spend as much time in prayer and Bible study as you do getting yourself physically ready for a day? What would happen if you spent as much time meetings needs and witnessing as you did shopping for more clothes to wear?