Make the Effort

MAY 15

MATTHEW 6:3_let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.

Unfortunately, modern society encourages us to be offended by numerous things. Jesus doesn’t want us to be offended – He wants us to be overcomers. Romans 12:21 (KJV), “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Let’s just agree, left-handers will not be offended because Jesus implies the doing of alms is by the right hand. Personally, I believe Jesus was ambidextrous.

This is not a lesson on hand usage. This is a lesson on secret giving.

In this part of verse 3, Jesus uses graphics again. Picture in your mind to hide from your left hand something your right hand does. It would take some effort – either hiding the left hand behind your back, or in your pocket, or under something. Generally, both your hands are exposed to each other.

If your heart is dedicated to the Jesus lifestyle, you make the effort to live life Jesus’ way. 

Jesus knew the world operated on a right-handed system. The right hand thing emphasizes what comes natural to most of the world. It comes natural to want to make your gifts known – especially a large gift.

Turn 180 degrees, and keep it secret.

PRAYER

God of Heaven, I never want my ego to cause me to bask in the glory and praise of people, lest I think I don’t need You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ takes care of my needs—He wants me to believe!

An Inflated Ego

MAY 12

MATTHEW 6:2_Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.

Jesus uses His attention getting word in this verse – verily. Perk up, open your heart, receive some truth!

Charity giving as a public spectacle may cause it to be more of a showy extravaganza than a sincere act of the heart. The more public, the more praise you receive.

In this example, Jesus’ verily draws attention to the fact this reward has already been received. Sounds like Jesus says, “Don’t look for a reward from God – you sought man’s reward, and have received it.”

Earthly praise is very good – especially when parents praise their children for making wise choices and in general doing good. But to seek public praise, can be destructive. An inflated ego can cause you to believe you are invincible.

I recently heard a little saying I like very much: Your ego is not your amigo!

In John 8:54 (KJV) Jesus said, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing.”

Wow! Even Jesus, who is glory, didn’t seek self-glory!

PRAYER

God of Glory, Help me know the only way I am invincible is in Your power. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ did not seek His own glory—He sought God’s glory!

It Is They

MAY 10

MATTHEW 6:2_Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.

Hypocrites. If anyone makes the Bible and the Christian faith look bad, it is they. If anyone can make a good act look bad, it is they. If anyone can make what should be an act of love turn into ego, it is they. If anyone can tip the scales so judgment outweighs mercy, it is they. If anyone can take a lie and cleverly disguise it as the truth, it is they. 

Is it any wonder Jesus accepted the thieves, murderers, and morally impure over the religious hypocrites?

The former came to Jesus broken, bleeding captives seeking forgiveness and love. They came with a repentant heart. Covered His feet with their tears.

The latter came self-assured and confident of their lack of need for help. They came with an arrogant heart – saw themselves good.

Hypocrites love to sound the trumpet before their good deeds. They desire to bring glory to themselves.

They make sure they receive praise.

And the whole world needs to know!

PRAYER

Dear Jesus, Only You are worthy to receive glory, and honor, and blessing, forever and ever. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ alone is worthy of the world’s glory—I praise Him!  

Something to Seek

MAY 8

MATTHEW 6:1_otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.

Back to rewards again. Jesus speaks a lot about rewards. He speaks of them as something to be desired, something to be honored, something to seek.

I have never found in the key to the treasure chest a time when Jesus speaks of rewards in a casual take-it-or-leave-it way

Whether we know what the Father’s rewards are or not, we know Jesus places great value on them. Which sets an example for us.      

When we study the Bible diligently with a seeking heart, we learn Jesus teaches specifically what causes not to receive the Father’s rewards. He does not speak favorably of any of these things.

Because Jesus loves us, and wants us to receive these rewards whether in this life or the next, Jesus warns. The rebellion in us does not respond well to warnings – someone telling us what to do.

When our hearts are transformed we realize there is love behind the warnings.

Just as specifically, Jesus teaches what causes us to receive the rewards.

PRAYER

Father God,  Please change my rebellious heart to accept Your warnings. Teach me to see Your great love for me in each warning. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                         

Christ wants me to receive rewards—I want to!

Some Turn Away

MAY 1

MATTHEW 5:45_for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendest rain on the just and on the unjust.

I can’t say this too many times: God understands the kind of struggles we face in our earthly life. He knows our enemy, the devil, is subtle. God knows the devil’s power to deceive and to persuade. We face the devil daily. Without the Holy Spirit we don’t stand a chance. 

Courage and power are available for us. Power comes through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. God wants this for everyone, but some turn away. 

According to what Jesus teaches, God loves the evil and the unjust. He gives them a new chance every day the sun rises. God sends rain on the crops of the evil, the same as on the crops of the just. He gives the unjust the same chance He gives the just. That’s the kind of heart God has, but it’s not the kind of heart we have – unless we allow The Great Surgeon to operate.

If God rejected those who hurt Him as easily as we reject those who hurt us – no one would be saved.

As our heart begins to transform, we become shining lights to those searching for Jesus. Our saltiness will cause someone to thirst for truth – real truth.

PRAYER

Dear God, Teach me how to love the unjust. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ’s heart cares for the unjust—He helps me to care!