Matthew 6:1 “…do not do your charitable deeds before men…”
Why do you do the things you do. For yourself or for Christ. Payment determines intention. Do you want the praise of men or of God. Can be a fine line. It’s possible to take pride in supposedly doing things for Christ, only to receive the praise of men. Personally I think you can head that issue off by remembering that our rewards come from Him and will be after all is said and done. Lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven where neither moth nor rust can destroy, neither can thieves break in and steal. Look at your good deeds as investments which can pay off great dividends over time.
5 “…they love to pray standing in the synagogues…”
Using prayer just like they did charitable gifts, for personal gain. Praying is supposed to be communion with God, not a means to impress someone.
6 “…pray to your Father…”
While it is true that Jesus is God, He instructs us to pray to the Father. I don’t see anything inherently wrong with praying to Jesus as they are the same being. But I think maybe Jesus was trying to help us understand the relationship. We call to Jesus to save us, then we pray daily to the Father. And the Holy Spirit indwells us and communicates for us when we can’t. I don’t understand all the nuances of it, so I just try to stick with what Jesus said.
7 “…vain repetitions…”
Not asking for the same thing more than once or singing repetitive praises, but senseless babbling just to be heard. Many of the world’s religions use this practice. They chant the same phrase over and over in mindless repetition to supposedly be heard by their god or the universe or whatever. We pray to a person, a being, who genuinely loves and cares for us and wants to communicate with us.
8 “…your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him”
Some ask, if this is the case, why bother to ask God for anything. Praying isn’t just asking for things, it’s communicating as part of the relationship. We agree with what God has already said, and He allows us to have some part in the process. Exactly what part or how much is up for debate, but He definitely wants us to continue to trust and pray to Him.
21 “…where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”
Point of all these sections. Not doing things for ourselves, but for God. Having our heart set on Him. If we do that, our treasures can accumulate in Heaven as that is where our focus will be. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.
24 “…You cannot serve God and mammon”
Money or the love of it. Which is greed, self desire. Either God is the most important to us or we are. We choose Him as Lord of our life or ourselves. Where our heart is.
25 “Therefore I say to you…”
I’ve always heard if you see a therefore in the scripture, look to see what it’s there for. Next section deals with worry over what we can’t change or what we need for daily living. Have just looked at making ourselves our focus or Christ. Jesus assumes we see the better path, making Him Lord. Therefore, if we do that, we have no need to worry about what we will eat, drink, or put on. He will take care of all things.
25-33 “…Are you not of more value than they…will He not much more clothe you…your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things…seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”
I’ve never known exactly where the line is between trusting God for daily resources and taking opportunities to do things for myself. When I try one side, I’m accused of not doing the other and vice versa. I’m in that situation now. Seems like I need so much and have been asking God to provide the resources or the opportunities. But thus far He seems more silent than talkative. I’ve decided to try focusing on the first part, seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. Used to think I knew what that meant, but perhaps not enough. Jesus Himself promises that if we seek His kingdom and righteousness, all the other needed things will be added. Doesn’t say when or that it will always be the way we want, but they will be supplied.
34 “…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things…”
Something else I have to work on. Have the hardest time living in today. Always trying to think ahead, for tomorrow. But doing so allows you to miss today. Don’t miss the present worrying about the future.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.