Weekly Devotional 4-11-21 Sincerity of Heart and Mind
Early in His public ministry, Jesus went throughout Galilee teaching in the synagogues preaching the gospel of the kingdom, healing many people of their sicknesses, and casting out demons. Because of this, His fame grew throughout Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem and beyond the Jordan (Matthew 4:23-25). He knew that many were following Him out of curiosity, wanting to see the signs (the miracles) He was doing. He knew that some were seeking to be healed of physical illnesses, and others were hoping to be relieved of demon possession. Knowing that it was not for spiritual gain that the crowds followed Him (John 2:23-25) He found occasion on a certain day to ascend up a mountain taking His disciples with Him. It is not clear if they perceived why the crowds followed Jesus, but He saw an opportunity to teach them some valuable truths about the Kingdom of heaven. He began by teaching them of their spiritual heritage. We read from Matthew 5:3-12,
“3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. 7Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 13You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Having in mind the externalism of the crowds below, He began instructing them about their walk. He taught them, saying; “1Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:1-4).
Concerning prayer He said, “5And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 7And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:5-8).
He then instructed them about having a proper attitude when fasting, He said, “16Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18so 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” (Matthew 6:16-18).
Continuing, Jesus taught them about having a proper attitude concerning riches, about anxiety, about the judgment of others, and about many other things found in the remainder of this chapter and in chapters seven and eight. However, what has been written in verses 6:1-18 is enough to lead us to understand that God wants more of the Christian than the appearance of spirituality, He wants it to be their/our walk. As Jesus said to the woman at the well, “23But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24); so should we worship. Lord, help us to walk as You would have us walk.
Transforming Power; the Work of God on Behalf of Man