Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Matthew, Chapter 6

We continue Jesus' Sermon on the Mount today, and the underlying message is one of glorifying God. Jesus makes several points here that are all important, and in each one He emphasizes the importance of glorifying God in our actions. In giving to the Needy He stresses how we should do so to glorify God, not ourselves. In prayer He speaks of nurturing our relationship with God, not on glorifying ourselves through prayer. In fasting we see again that the glory should be directed at God instead of attention drawn to ourselves. Jesus' nature was that He was absolutely selfless. Considering that he came to sacrifice Himself for our benefit it is hard not to see this. Since we are asked to emulate Christ in all we do, we must take this posture as well.

14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. – Matthew 6:14-15

We see this continued deflection of glory right here. I also see where this is another area of my life that has been a long personal struggle. It is easy to ask God for forgiveness of our sins because we know that God is forgiving. It is more difficult to ask for forgiveness from others. It is human nature to be offended and angry when we are wronged. When we don't forgive, however, we are not taking the attitude that Christ took when He went to the cross. It takes strength to forgive others and allow them to repent of their sins against you. This strength can come from Christ if we let it come.

The last part of this chapter deals with worry. I must admit that today, with everything I am facing in my life, Jesus' words feel more like the cover of the infamous Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In that book, the cover of the guide simply reads: "Don't Panic" without any further explanation. Here in Matthew 6 we get a further explanation of why we shouldn't worry, but it still does not make life any easier when we try to apply it.

25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? – Matthew 6:25-27

Jesus plainly states here that worry is pointless. Unfortunately, we are human, and that means it is very difficult for us to apply this lesson. When we get slammed with the circumstances of life it is very easy to be overcome. Right now in my life is one of those times, and I often find myself wanting to scream at God. I want to tell Him that it is His mess, and it is His problem to clean it up. there is truth in that simply because there is nothing else I can do. I cannot fix my wife's health issues. I cannot solve my employment issues if no one will hire me. I cannot take care of my mother's mental state or help my grandmother. When I see something like this it almost makes me angry because it is easy for God not to worry, He is God and can do anything.

Still, God is in control. It may be hard for me to see at this point, but I am forced to resign myself to the fact that I cannot take control myself, no matter how much I want to. I have to trust that He knows what He is doing, and according to the above verses that is exactly what is going on. I am glad that He is all-powerful and able to take care of my entire situation while running the universe at the same time. That makes His majesty much more glorious when He finally does fix things.


  1. How do you hold others' sins against them?
  2. How is this damaging?
  3. How does worry control your life at the moment?


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