Please Help Us Keep These Thousands of Blog Posts Growing and Free for All
- Christ has here forcibly taught the necessity of cautious charity, of prayer, and of all religious duties.
- We see the necessity of sincerity and honesty in our religious duties. They are not to be done to be seen by people. If they are, they cannot be performed acceptably. God looks upon the heart, nor is it possible to deceive Him. And of what avail is it to deceive people? How poor and pitiable is the reward of a hypocrite! How contemptible the praise of people when God is displeased! How awful will be the condition of such a one beyond the grave!
- Christ has here, in a particular manner, urged the duty of prayer. He has given a model for prayer. Nothing can equal this composition in simplicity, beauty, and comprehensiveness. At the same time that it is so simple that it can be understood by a child, it contains the expression of all the needs of man at any age and in every rank of life.
The duty of prayer is urged by every consideration. None but God can provide for us; none but He can forgive, and guide, and support us; none but He can bring us into heaven. He is always ready to hear us. The humble He sends not empty away. Those who are asking receives, and they who are seeking find. How natural and proper, then, is prayer! How strange that any man can live, and not pour out his desires to God! How strange that anyone is willing to go to eternity with this sad reflection: “I have gone through this world, spent my probation, wasted my strength, and am dying, and have never prayed!” How awful will be the reflection of the soul through all eternity: “I was offered eternal life, but I never asked for it. I lived from day to day and from year to year in God’s world, breathed His air, rioted on His beneficence, forgot His goodness, and never once asked Him to save my soul!” Who will be to blame if the prayerless soul is lost?
Secret and family prayer should be daily. We daily have the same necessities, are exposed to the same dangers, tread upon the borders of the same heaven or hell. How should the voice of praise and prayer go up as incense in the morning, and rise as a rich perfume in the shades of each evening! What more lovely object on earth is there than that of one in the bloom of health and the dew of youth, bending with reverence before the King of heaven, seeking forgiveness, peace, guidance, and salvation! And what a strange, misguided, and piteous object is a soul that never prays!
- Forgiveness is essential in prayer. If we come to God harboring malice and unwilling to forgive, we have his solemn assurance that we shall not be ourselves forgiven.
- “Avarice” is alike foolish and an insult to God, Matt. 6:19-24. It is the parent of many foolish and hurtful lusts. It alienates the affections from God produces envy of another’s prosperity; leads to fraud, deception, and crime to obtain wealth, and degrades the soul. Man is formed for nobler pursuits than the mere desire to be rich. He lives for eternity, where silver will not be needed and where gold will be of no value. That eternity is near; and though we have wealth like Solomon, and though we are adorned as the lily, yet like Solomon we must soon die, and like the lily our beauty will soon fade. Death will lay us alike low; the rich and the poor will sleep together; and the worm will feed no more sweetly on the unfed and unclothed son of poverty, than on the man clothed in fine linen, and the daughter of beauty and pride. As avarice is moreover the parent of discontent, he only that is contented with the allotments of Providence, and is not restless for a change, is happy. After all, this is the true source of enjoyment. Anxiety and care, perplexity and disappointment, find their way more readily to the mansions of the rich than to the cottages of the poor. It is the mind, not mansions, and gold, and adorning, that gives ease; and he that is content with his situation will “smile upon his stool, while Alexander weeps upon the throne of the world.”
- We see how comparatively valueless is “beauty.” How little it is regarded by God! He gives it to the lily, and in a day it fades and is gone. He gives it to the wings of the butterfly, and soon it dies and its beauty is forgotten. He gives it to the flowers of the spring, soon to fall; to the leaves of the forest, soon to grow yellow and decay in the autumn. How many lilies and roses does he cause to blossom in solitude where no man is, where they “waste their sweetness on the desert air!” How many streams ripple in the wilderness, and how many cataracts age after age, have poured their thunders on the air, unheard and unseen by mortals! So little does God think of beauty. So the human form and “face divine.” How soon is all that beauty marred; and, as in the lily, how soon is its last trace obliterated! In the cold grave, among the undistinguished multitudes of the dead, who can tell which of all the moldering host was blessed with a “lovely set of features or complexion?” Alas, all has faded like the morning flower. How vain, then, to set the affections on so frail a treasure!
- We see the duty and privilege of depending on our daily needs on the bounties of Providence. Satisfied with the troubles of today, let us not add to those troubles by anxieties about tomorrow. The pagan, and they who know not God, will be anxious about the future; but they who know him, and have caught the spirit of Jesus, may surely trust him for the supply of their wants. The young lions do roar and seek their meat at the hand of God, Psa_104:21. The fowls of heaven are daily supplied. Shall man only, of all the creatures on earth, vex himself and be filled with anxious cares about the future? Rather, like the rest of the creation, let us depend on the aid of the universal Parent, and feel that he who hears the young ravens which cry will also supply our necessities.
- Especially is the remark just made of value in reference to those in early life. Life is a stormy ocean. Over that ocean, no being presides but God. He holds the winds in his hands, and can still their howlings, and calm the heaving billows. On that ocean, the young have just launched their frail bark. Daily they will need protection; daily will they need supplies; daily will they be in danger, and exposed to the rolling of the billows that may ingulf them forever. Ignorant, inexperienced, and in danger, how should they look to God to guide and aid them! Instead of vexing themselves with anxious cares about the future, how should they place humble reliance on God! Safe in His hand, we shall outride the storm and come to a haven of peace. he will supply our wants if we trust him, as he does those of the songsters of the grove. He will be the guide of our youth and the strength of our manhood. If we seek Him, He will be found of us; if we forsake Him, He will cast us off forever, 1Ch_28:9.
- From all this, how manifest is the propriety of seeking first the kingdom of God! First in our affections, first in the objects of pursuit, first in the feelings and associations of each morning, be the desire and the aim for heaven. Having this, we have assurance of all that we need. God, “our” Father, will then befriend us, and in life and death all will be well. Even so, see the articles below.
SOME BIBLE SUBJECTS OFTEN MISUNDERSTOOD
- God is INDIRECTLY responsible for ALL things and DIRECTLY responsible for SOME things
- Does God Step in and Solve Our Every Problem Because We are Faithful?
- Is Foreknowledge Compatible with Free Will?
- Why has God Permitted Wickedness and Suffering?
- Why is Life So Unfair?
- When Bad Things Happen to Good People
- No Absolutes
MATTHEW CHAPTER 6
Giving to the Poor
2 “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be glorified by men. Truly I say to you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving might be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
How to Pray
5 “And when you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
The Model Prayer
9 Pray in this way:
“Our Father who is in the heavens,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from the wicked one.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
How to Fast
16 “Whenever you fast, do not become sad-faced as the hypocrites do, for they distort their faces so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Treasures on Earth and In Heaven
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is simple, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
The Cure for Anxiety
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious about your soul, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his life span? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 Yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these! 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the nations eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
Keep Seeking Kingdom First
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own wickedness.