It’s only a month into the New Year and I’m already looking for that illusive sweet spot of joy and happiness and that generally painless life. I’m finding I have deeply rooted bad habits that will take time to break. I want to be more humble and Holy NOW!! Mathew 6 challenges us that God must take us through a process to bring us closer to himself. That’s where we find real joy.
In the beginning, we are reminded that many people put their hope in what others think about them or even work towards impressing others. Look at the verses below……
- Verse 1, 2 – “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men.
- Verse 5 – “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.
- Verse 16 – “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full
- Verse 17,18 “But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
All the people in these verses received their reward….praise from man. As Matthew points out, it’s an empty reward. The people here have put their hope in man. But in verses 19-21, Matthew reminds us where our heart really should be focused. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew encourages us to focus on the things of the Lord. There is where our heart, our treasure should be.
What do you long for?………
Political security? A warless Earth? Financial Peace? Smart kids? A good name? A good Reputation? A Flawless Home? Better health?Peter says in Acts 4:12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
What are you storing up for yourselves that isn’t worth anything?…….that moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal?
Now….I’m not there yet…it’s not very joyful all the time in my life. I struggle everyday with something and God must take me through another process to bring me closer to Him. My head knows a lotta “stuff” but my heart feels a lot more and takes over the lead. So, know that you are not alone with struggles that take you away from what is good and Godly. That’s why Matthew says our treasure, our heart, must be longing for a better relationship with Him.
In the words of the song Slow Fade by Casting Crowns,
“It’s a slow fade when you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade”
Hebrews 12:3,4 says it this way, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
Only Jesus can bring everlasting Joy!!
Only Jesus can give eternal Peace!!!