Getting Our Rewards (Matthew 6:5)

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As we saw with the beatitudes, all through chapter 5 of Matthew Jesus uses   a similar format in each series of teachings. Having warned us about hypocritical giving, He now teaches us about hypocritical prayer, “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. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.” 

God is not a hypocrite. God says what He means, and means what He says. He always does what He says He will do, and never does what He says He will not do. God has integrity. Integrity is the opposite of hypocrisy as good is the opposite of evil. 

The hypocrite claims to speak to God by the prompting of God, but really speaks only to men by the prompting of him/herself. So the power of a hypocrite’s prayer is limited to the words of a sinner. Such may prompt mankind’s momentary attention and approval, especially if what they are saying speaks to what you are already thinking. It can even result in moving your hands to applause. But it will not move God’s hand at all. 

In reality, what the hypocrite practices is a distortion of the idea of prayer. It does not warrant God’s answer, for it is a call to their fellow man and not a call to God at all – it does nothing to bring Him glory. It is therefore empty, devoid of power and a tragic waste of time for the pray-er as well as the listener. Jesus specifically tells us to avoid this, “do not be like the hypocrites.” It is a warning against being powerless, against wasting time, against missing the point of who our Father is. 

God is a rewarder of those that seek Him. If you seek Him less than half-heartedly, you can know that He will reward you accordingly. This is irony, that those who put their faith on display more for the sake of men than for God get exactly what that display earned; The most temporary applause of created beings who will soon forget what happened. That is because the power in prayer comes not from the being that speaks to God, but from God, who both prompts the being to pray according to His will, and then answers the prayer to accomplish His will. This is to His glory, and we were created expressly for the purpose of reflecting and magnifying God’s glory. So powerful prayer is prayer that calls forth and results in God’s magnified glory.

It is folly to think that we can only do that within earshot of others. God is glorified right now, entirely out of earshot. In fact, all of heaven worships Him day and night, completely beyond our field of view. The four living beings around His throne speak His praise, the angels sing to His praise, the heavenly temple shakes with His glory. We hear none of this with our ears and we see none of that with our eyes, yet it happens every day. God does not need a human audience to be glorified, least of all by pretending. 

What glorifies God is the fulfillment of His will and the realization of creation’s purpose. That happens when we do what we made to do. When we worship Him in the beauty of holiness – in thanksgiving and praise and adoration. When we call forth His creative power in supplications, petitions and intercession. Such things do not need other people to witness them anymore than we need to watch grass for it to grow. They only need us to come before Him, and pray. 

But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.

King David (from Psalm 55:16-17)

APPLICATION: Intentionality

What time to you regularly set apart for prayer?

Finding Fuel (Matthew 6:5)

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One might think that if God assigned only one way for mankind to speak to  Him, and if  prayer is the only way any individual can directly address our maker, sustainer and King, that we would have much to say to Him. That we would want to speak to Him often. All the more, as Jesus shortly introduces Him as Father. But prayer is a conscious act; as with all communication, it takes intentionality. We must enforce the creation of time and space in our lives to do it. Therein lies its greatest weakness. It is open to the one and only tool the enemy of our souls can apply against it; Distraction. 

The distracted disciple does not pray. The distracted disciple has far too many other priorities. Well, not so much priorities as inversions. And truly they are inversions, because the mountain of fuel for our prayers is ever before us.

For if we work, we have a huge amount of fuel for prayer. There are co-workers who are bundles of need – so much to pray for them! There are bosses who need wisdom and insight and compassion and grace. There is the whole matter of the work itself. Where will the customers come from? How will ideas surface to make the organization better? Besides all which is the matter of praise and thanksgiving. For employment. For means to bless others. For the ability to do the job, and to get to and from the workplace. At the very least, a prayer for work for the unemployed. But the distracted disciple sees none of this. They see a task that needs urgent completion, followed by a never ending list of other tasks. Without prayer, what God meant for blessing and as opportunity to always come before Him is nothing more than a meaningless treadmill. 

If we have friends and family we have a huge amount of fuel for prayer. There are either obstacles to be prayed out of the way, or for courage/determination and strength to overcome. There is health to be thankful for or infirmity to be prayed for. There are relational needs that mandate much time before His throne, that one’s outlook upon them might be gracious. There are lost family members and friends somewhere, and partners of loved ones yet to be met. Divine providence is called for, divine intervention needed. There are decisions that need tact, grace and a liberal amount of love invested in their application. So much to pray for! But the distracted disciple perceives only competing wants, needs and demands. Family becomes a chore instead of a goldmine of blessing, friends a demand to be scheduled instead of relationships to be nourished.

One might think that having a church home and brothers and sisters in Christ is but fuel for prayer. That being part of God’s family is fuel for prayer. That knowing you are part of a never-ending Kingdom that needs to be and will be more fully manifested in physical reality is very much fuel for prayer. Not just prayer as in supplication, but in prayer for praise and thanksgiving. For adoration, confession and intercession. 

Yet the distracted disciple is so preoccupied with themselves, they can not see – much less participate – in the grand overarching chronology of our collective lives.

Fortunately, even in addressing the subject, Jesus affords us an effective response to distraction. He said, ”And when you pray.,” meaning that before we we get to “whenever”, we need to plan when. Having a predetermined time for prayer – an appointment with God as it were – is a most effective combatant to the enemy’s distractions. 

After all, we make appointments with important people we need to speak to. We schedule our tasks. We purposefully keep times open for dates with our loved ones.  Why would we not afford that same consideration to Our Father?

To honour God in your daily walk is to live the very best quality of life, because the whole point of life is that we might be God’s people, and He might be our God. […] That kind of life starts with listening to Him.  It starts when we are in dialogue with Him.  It starts when we take the time to work on our relationship with Him.  When we take time to pray.

Marcus Verbrugge

APPLICATION: Thanksgiving

Prayer is a conscious act. A choice. A choice we need to made in advance of doing it. Today, set aside time to pray!

Whenever (Matthew 6:5)

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For all its importance – and for all its benefits – prayer is the most often  overlooked  spiritual discipline. It is very rare to be part of a small group that does not have at least one member who is struggling to maintain a prayer life. That dynamic is also true among clergy. How could it not? Pastors and church leaders are just people too. We all struggle to spend time in prayer from time to time because prayer is a spiritual exercise. As such it is foreign to both our physical selves and the world we live in. It does not come naturally to take time out of a busy day to engage in a conversation with someone the rest of the world ignores. Reality is that while the Trinity enjoys intimate and complete communication without end, the people He made in His image – living in the world He made expressly for His glory – often carry on our lives not even looking to speak to Him.

That’s ironic, because we are all made for relationship, and the best relationship is one where someone else knows you and loves you anyway. Of course, He knows us completely and thoroughly, for He is our creator. He knows our beginning from our end and the number of days appointed to us. He knows every hair on our heads, every intention and motivation of our hearts. He knows everything there is to know about us, and He knows all that without talking to us and without interrupting the never-ending conversation between Father, Son and Spirit. For He is God, and we are not. 

Still, while we are so far removed from the divine and have nothing to say He does not already know, He yet longs to hear us speaking to Him. Like a father who can’t wait to talk to his children, He stoops down to our level, just to invest in who we are. In spite of our faulty or absent prayer lives, He looks right at us, and He speaks. God speaks through His Word, through His Spirit’s presence, through His still small voice that guides us aright. God speaks through those who have immersed themselves in Him by study and by sitting under solid preaching and teaching. God speaks through circumstance and providence, directing our paths in the way we must go. God can and does speak through innumerable ways and means. God even speaks through creation itself!

We on the other hand, have only one way to speak to Him. The disciple of God must pray. We must pray to understand and to feel understood. We must pray to communicate, and to build a relationship. He knows this. Every relationship we ever engage in begins with speaking. With communication. Our relationship with God is no exception. He knows this, so He has spoken to us that we might know to speak to Him, and how to speak to Him.

We must pray! To that very point Jesus said, “And when you pray..” Not “If”, but “When”. Whenever we can. Whenever we feel we must. Whenever the thought strikes us. This is how the Father lavishes His love on us. The creator of all, the sustainer of all, the One the whole universe answers to – somehow opens His ears to us, bends down to hear us and listens intently to us. Whenever. Whenever we barge into the throne room of grace. Whenever we need forgiveness. Whenever we need a compassionate friend. Whenever we recognize a need. Whenever we are hurt, or are happy, or are bored, or have seen something that reminds us of the privilege we have or experience a prompting to. Whenever we pray. 

How jealous the angels must be. How creation must be amazed. The Father – the King – even God Most High, always having time for His children. Whenever.

Jesus stands ready to take every prayer of ours, however imperfect in knowledge, however feeble in expression, however marred with sorrow, and he presents the purified and perfected prayer with his own merit, and it is sure to speed.

Charles Spurgeon

APPLICATION: Thanksgiving

Pray to express your gratitude to Our Father for the love He so lavishes on us, that His door is always open! 

Secret Blessings (Matthew 6:3-4)

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Jesus has just warned us not to emulate the hypocrites as we give. It does us no good to   seize temporary glory by pointing out our good deeds. Past generations had a phrase for that. They called it, “vainglory”. Vainglory is what we seek when we are afraid that the sacrifice we make for the other’s benefit will go complete unrecognized. Jesus points out that such fear is completely unfounded. What we do in secret is not hidden from Him who sees. “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” 

One of the primary characteristics of God is the attribute of omnipresence. God is everywhere, all the time. Another of His attributes is omniscience. He knows all, and there is nothing hidden from His understanding. The Bible declares, “God understands the way to it [wisdom] and he alone knows where it dwells, for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens,”  and, “He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals the deep and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness.” 

These fundamental traits of the divine tell us that nothing we could ever do is apart from His knowledge of it – not only His knowledge of the event, but of our motives and intents in participating in the event. There is quite literally nothing we could ever keep secret from God. But that doesn’t mean that He’s keen to tell everyone your secrets. There are no secrets with God, but God knows how to keep a secret. 

The most practical out-working of these facts is that we can be ourselves with Him, for He knows our inmost thoughts and intentions and yet still loves us! Another out-working is that we need not fear that He will let any good deed go unrewarded. He knows what we’ve done to honour Him by blessing those He made, and He will make good any ‘loss’ it may be to us. How could He not? It is His nature to bless. So much so that God will never miss an opportunity to bless. How much more certain when He sees His own, acting as Himself! 

Make no mistake, giving in secret is exactly that, if nothing else. It is acting as He does. For God gives to all in secret. He does not physically show up to personally hand you the blessing. He does not write His Name on a card that He sends with it. He just gives it. And He does so from a place of invisibility and a source that we cannot locate. He does that a million times a day. He literally sends rain on the just and the unjust, and He causes the sun the rise on all who walk in the land of the living – and He does much more  besides – without accolades, without demanding applause and without even so much as whispering His Name, every day. God is constantly going about blessing all those He made in His image, and He does so without the slightest fanfare or acclamation. That is who He is.

How it must thrill His heart then, when His children do likewise.

The pardoning grace of God is flowing all day and all night long, all the year round, quietly blessing thousands.

Charles Spurgeon


Praise God for the many unassuming and quiet ways He blesses you today. 

Reward (Matthew 6:2)

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Jesus said, “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. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”

Scholars tell us that in Christ’s day people did not blow trumpets to announce their giving. But the metaphorical image of tooting your own horn was already in use, and it is more than likely that Jesus was employing satire. Truly, it does seem ridiculous to us that someone would sound a trumpet when they give to the poor. Yet while it may have been satire on His part in that day, in our world today this actually happens all the time. Only instead of a trumpet, a news conference is called. A newspaper headline is written. A name is carved in stone, a sign erected or a plaque etched. Perhaps we should not judge the proverbial trumpet blower so harshly, for we as a society do exactly that, albeit with different media. Not, mind you, without cause either. We do these things because we want to acknowledge and remember those who, by their own means and exercise, have made life better for others. It is a fitting and proper thing to do for the generous when they have done something for us. 

The key is “for us,” because if what they’ve done is for God, then such recognition is wildly out of place. To do something for a fellow saint (or any made in God’s image) and then expect God to honour you is to not unlike writing a thank you card to your brother, and then expecting your Dad to take you out for ice cream for writing it. It is a blessing to bless others in the first place. After all, to do so one must first be blessed of God. You can only give what has first been given to you, or out of the fruit of the skills and talents you were already blessed with. What is it of yours then – to expect public applause – if God first blesses you in private? 

In fact, it is not an exaggeration to say that the reason we are blessed is to bless others. So to be blessed (in receiving from God) and then be blessed twice more (in assisting your fellow human beings – which is a blessing of itself, and again in being thanked for it) and then expect God to bless again for having done so, is to expect a quadruple blessing for something that was never really ours to start with, while at the same time acknowledging the other’s lack. A more definitive example of hypocrisy is hard to find. 

No, let it be said of us that we are generous without hypocrisy. That we are thankful for the opportunity to bless others, because we recognize God’s already abundant blessing on us to begin with. Let us share in God’s character of being generous to all without fanfare of any kind. Let us give when asked, and also give when not asked. Let us never draw attention to what we are doing whenever we give, no matter the amount or frequency. In this way we better reflect Him.

After all, that is how He treats us. Amen.

So subtle is the sinfulness of the heart that it is possible to take deliberate steps to keep our giving secret from men while simultaneously dwelling on it in our own minds in a spirit of self-congratulation.

John Stott

APPLICATION: Intentionality

God is gracious. If we ask Him in prayer, He will take our sinful pride and silent boasting away. Ask Him to replace it with a greater appreciation of all He has done and is doing for you.

Generosity (Matthew 6:2)

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Jesus has already told us to be generous. He said, “Give to the one who asks you, and do   not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Such should be our attitude whenever someone asks of us. Not of course that He would think only the demanding are worthy, or that our blessing should be exclusively reserved for those who are fortunate enough to have our attention. But rather that we must reflect the heart of God to His creation. Does He not provide sun and rain for all? Does He not provide land and sea for all? Of course He does. Of His character, James writes of God, “who gives to all generously and without criticizing.” It is God’s nature to give, so much so that we can be confident of it. If that is how God treats us, should we not treat our fellow man with equal grace? So Jesus goes further, making it clear that a base expectation of His people is a generous heart, “So when you give to the needy…” 

In saying “When” (some versions say, “whenever”), Jesus implies that the occasion is not rare. That it is repeated. That it is a regular event, although not necessarily scheduled. It also implies that we will be around the poor (or they around us). 

It would be a sad thing if the disciple of God had only the wealthy in their circle of influence and in their field of view. For then we might not have occasion to be generous to the poor, and how then would any find out if they have a gift of generosity? And how would they practice that gift, apart from those who lack what we can give? How would we even know what generosity even was, apart from receiving? And how sad it would be, if we realized we had lack, and there were none with abundance to help! 

It is even sadder when we see someone in need and do not feel some obligation to help. It should greatly alarm us if we see another made in God’s image in want and yet have no compassion for them, no motivation deep within us to help in some way. Indeed, because we are made in God’s image, it is natural and normal to help. One does not need a ‘gift’ of compassion to help a fellow human being. As Mark Aurelius wrote in his work, Meditations: “One man when he has done a service to another is ready to set it down to his account as a favour conferred. Another, while he may not go so far as that, still thinks of the man as his debtor, and is conscious of what he has done. A third does not, if we may so speak, even know what he has done and betrays no consciousness of his kindness, but is like a vine which has produced grapes and seeks for nothing after it has produced the fruit proper to it. As a horse when he has run, a dog when he has caught the game, a bee when it has made its honey, so a man when he has done a good act, does not call out for others to come and see, but goes on to another act, as a vine goes on to produce again grapes in the season. What more do you want when you have done a man a service? Are you not content that you have done something conformable to your nature and do you seek reward for it, as if the eye should demand a recompense for seeing, or the feet for walking?” 

If that is our common nature (and it must be, for we are all made in His image) then the people of God must care all the more. Not just to help others, but to be known as generous, just as God is known as generous. Amen.

Our use of money to help people is a test of the sincerity of our love. It evaluates our real appreciation for the grace God has given to us

Knofel Staton

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Who in your circle of influence is needy? How would Jesus want you to respond?

Be Careful (Matthew 6:1)

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Right-ness before God includes everything we are and everything we do.  Right-ness is  not only our private meditation upon Him and His word. It is not only our personal prayer life and the quiet reflection of our souls. Right-ness before God (what the Bible calls “righteousness”) is inevitably expressed in our behaviour and habits. Right-ness includes the day to day interactions with family, friends and associates. Right-ness also includes our very public actions too. For life is lived largely in community among others. It includes every act of humility, kindness and generosity we participate in, when and wherever we are.

This fact can easily be manipulated by the demonic lie that if we look and sound right in our community, we will be considered righteous. That how we think and act in private and out of public view is somehow less important, or even worse, irrelevant. Such thinking is a grave error. Righteousness can never be a derivative of some form of impurity. Not public impurity, not private impurity, not even a deeply internal impurity. Impurity in any part of the whole contaminates the whole. As God sees the whole person – past, present and future all at the same time – one’s personal motivation to do something is as plain to Him as the greatest public spectacle we are part of. 

To do public works of righteousness with twisted internal motive is akin to trying to deceive God. On three counts, actually – that of one’s personal witness to God, that of one’s witness to others made in His image, and that of one’s witness to the heavenly beings who serve Him day and night. How could God Most High – holy, holy, holy God – ever reward one who practices such hypocrisy? It will never happen. As Jesus said, “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.” 

Not only will the Lord not reward hypocrisy – unless we repent He will eventually reveal it for what it is. What starts out as a private and personal lie eventually becomes widely known public knowledge. This is a spiritual principle that applies to all; “…you may be sure that your sin will find you out!” That means that being mindful of God in public speech while being disrespectful of Him in private action is a recipe for being called out as a fraud – not only before human flesh, but before angels and celestial beings. 

Jesus knows that all those made in His image are made for relationship, and so are prone to heed even the perception of peer pressure. Consequently, Jesus warns us, “Be careful.” Vigilance is called for, because while hypocrisy may be obvious to the objective onlooker, it is invisible to the subjective participant. It lies in wait, hidden like a snare, ready to destroy your witness whenever you trade eternal benefit for the most temporary of compliments. The only sure path forward is to keep one’s motivation and intentions in view, and ever in check. 

Christian righteousness is righteousness unlimited. It must be allowed to penetrate beyond our actions and words to our heart, mind and motives, and to master us even in those hidden, secret places.

John Stott

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Be careful! Regularly check your intentions in prayer, asking Him to reveal to you what really lies behind them.

Avoiding Injury (Matthew 6:1)

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Jesus summarized the life God is purposing to take the believer into, and at the same time set a very high bar for us to look toward, saying, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Of course, perfection does not mean exact consistency with others – as though we were all clones of each other, acting in unison. Rather, it means flawless “right-ness”. 

Right-ness (aka perfection) is a condition. Like our physical condition, it must be worked on to be gained. Like our physical condition, it must be also be maintained. Even Adam and Eve, who had rightness/perfection, and who lived in a perfect place in perfect peace, needed to work on their condition. In fact, God had warned them to be mindful that they could lose that condition, “…you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Unfortunately they were not so mindful, and they lost it. That fact is a sobering reminder that our spiritual condition is not a level we get to attain and then keep forever, like a war medal. It is far more a condition like physical fitness.

When an Olympian wins a gold medal, the different muscles, organs and tissues in their body work together – each stretches or contracts as needed, different kinds doing various kinds of ‘works’. Some pump blood, some pump air. Some contain the flowing blood and air. Some move instructions along nerves, some gather information, and some protect others from damage. But each kind does its part exactly as it was both designed and trained to do. It must do its part flawlessly for the athlete to perform well. In fact, if you think about it, you realize it must do its part very, very well for the body to do most anything at all. 

If the heart were to start pumping as hard as it can whenever it wanted – as though to impress the rest of the body – the athlete would be in very sad shape when not competing. They would be in even worse shape if the heart (or any organ for that matter) decided that they wanted to slack off and stopped working altogether. Likewise, perfection (or ‘right-ness’) in the body of Christ means we all become all God meant for us to become, and we all do all that He wants us to do – when and how He wants us to do it. 

For us who are individually members of His body, doing so is exhilarating and meaningful, and when the body as a whole works together with God’s purposes in mind, it is truly beautiful. It accomplishes tremendous good and literally does the work of God’s Kingdom. But it cannot be so if we as individuals only work when and as we wish, instead of entirely on His impulse. In short, there is a right way and a wrong way to work in “right-ness”. It depends entirely on our obedience in timing and action as well as on our own personal sanctification. 

It is true of course that confessing our sins and asking for forgiveness in Jesus’ Name allows that we are washed completely clean of unrighteousness. For the Word says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Yet a lack of unrighteousness does not automatically mean a full storehouse of righteousness. Not only can you lose your right-ness through disobedience, trying to gain right-ness the wrong way can result in no gain at all. 

Physically exercising the wrong way results in strains, pulled muscles and injuries. That hurts rather than helps. It restricts future movement, often for a significant period of time. In the same way, so also does doing the right things for the wrong reason or at the wrong time. As His body, we must pay heed to what the Head of the Church told us. For He warned us of the dangers of inappropriate spiritual exercise, saying, “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.”

God made humans for a purpose: not simply for themselves, not simply so that they could be in relationship with him, but so that through them, as his image-bearers, he could bring his wise, glad, fruitful order to the world.

Tom Wright

APPLICATION: Intentionality

How are you practicing your righteousness? 

Perfection (Matthew 5:48)

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From Matthew 5:17 to 5:47, Jesus speaks about the true nature of the Law  and how to live rightly by it. Over and over He says, “You have heard it said…but I say to you.” Taken as a whole, we see that He was addressing a legalistic reading of God’s Law. He had seen how the teachers of the Law had misapplied God’s Word and so misdirected His people. So He took time to correct the core misunderstandings. Jesus now makes a declaration that puts the final nail in legalism’s coffin, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” 

Christ’s command to be perfect is a great antithesis to self-justification. God’s standard leaves no room for pride, only humility. For who among us is perfect? Apart from the mentally ill, all of us realize that we are not perfect. We might be OK. We might be good. We might even be very good in our own estimation. But no reasonable person claims to be perfect. Only God is perfect. 

John Nolland wrote, “One must go all the way in obeying the will of God; one cannot be content with some circumscribed version of obeying God’s will.” This is the crux of the matter; What use is the half-hearted disciple? Rather like a fair-weather friend, they are only there to capture select blessings of the relationship instead of the whole. The legalist seeks not to fulfill the Law, but to justify themselves independent of character or thought. Focusing only on behavior, they take what was meant to be about God and His purpose, and make it all about themselves. Effectively, they whittle down God’s intention and make it into an unhelpful burden instead of a declaration of His glory.

That was never God’s plan for His disciples. Thousands of years earlier, the Father had said to Abraham, “I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless.” Moses had reiterated that same command to the new Israelite nation, “You must be blameless before the Lord your God.” Such statements mandate regular and careful consideration of both one’s ways and one’s thinking. The true disciple makes space in their lives to re-evaluate themselves in light of God’s perfection.

The thing is, every time we do that we find we are falling short in some capacity or another. Our brokenness is exposed. But rather than use the revelation of another gap in our lives as a stepping-stone to self-criticism and despair, the disciple leans into the love of God and repents. Repentance becomes a springboard, launching us into a deeper relationship with the Father. As a result, we find His love more than sufficient to heal us, closing that gap and making more like the risen Christ. 

We find that God’s command to be perfect was not to crush us, but to make us stronger. For in humility before Him, we find certain hope that one day He will make us perfect. We will be free from sin forever – literally perfect, and able to perfectly enjoy God in His perfection without fear of being destroyed by His flawless holiness. Amen. 

We are not perfect. But we can be consistent. And we can consistently work at becoming perfect as Jesus is perfect.



Praise God for His glorious grace to us. Praise God for His patience endurance to us. Praise God for His commitment to us. Praise God for His plans and purposes for us. Praise God for His holy perfection.

Expecting More (Matthew 5:46-47)

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No parent expects much from the children of others. But they do have  expectations of  their own kids. God does too. Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?”

There comes a day in most every parent’s life when they purpose to bless their child, and yet find that before they can do so, the child acts out in a most unacceptable manner. The parent’s plan must be re-accessed. They realize the blessing must be withheld – at least for a time. But holding the blessing back is grievous. Not to the child, who was altogether unaware of the blessing to be had. Rather, it hurts the parent. They know the day was supposed to be one of celebration, and instead has turned to a day of punishment. Their imminent joy at the child’s happiness has been stolen from them, and that by the very one they meant to bless. 

If that is so for us, how much more so for God? For it is His nature to bless. How He longs to bless His children! How it must grieve Him when He has to withhold blessing on account of His son or daughter’s selfishness!  

God is the giver of life. The sustainer of life. The One who purposes that we might live an abundant life. God is the one who provides for this life, and died on the cross that we might live forever. We have a most gracious and generous Father! So much so that even while we were running about getting on with our lives and largely if not totally ignorant of Him and His mission, Jesus was building and preparing a place for us in His Father’s house, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

In consideration then, it must not be that we should do only as the ungodly do. For even the greedy and selfish love those who love them. Even secularists show hospitality to other secularists. God’s children surely must have a higher standard than that, do they not? Surely the child of God will not act as the world acts. Or as a Muslim acts, or as a Hindu or Bhuddist acts. Surely a Christian (literally ‘little Christ’) would do as Jesus would do. And Jesus has already told us, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Jesus has no illusion that doing so is easy. He speaks using the language of reward, because He knows that we need some kind of promise that doing so will be ‘worth it’. In a way that is really sad, because all through our existence God has been showing us that He is worth it. But if we ever needed one more reason, here it is. Act like Jesus, and know that it will be worth it. There is a reward for being like Him in character, and in outlook, and in deed. For if He died for us while we were still sinners, what more will He do for us when we truly are and act as His children?

Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.

Jesus (Revelation 22:12)

APPLICATION: Thankfulness 

Thank the Lord for the blessings you enjoy today, His bountiful blessings you will enjoy yet in life, and the unimaginable blessings you will enjoy in His presence forever.