Devoted or Despised?

God revealed Matthew, chapter 6 to me in such a strong way this past week. I felt there were insights that stood out to me in a way I have never noticed before - even after having read that particular passage many times over the years.

In Matthew 6, Jesus is in the middle of his "sermon on the mount" that provides foundational Christian instruction. He states at the intro to the chapter "Take care not to do your good deeds publicly or before men, in order to be seen by them; otherwise you will have no reward [reserved and awaiting for you] with and from your Father who is in heaven." (Amplified version).

Following that sentiment states several times throughout the chapter, "your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open" about giving, fasting and praying. This statement gives the impression that God desires us to do spiritual disciplines in secret - just between us and Him. He always sees us - nothing is hidden from Him. He knows who we really are. God wants our spiritual acts to be for Him, and not simply to build an outward facade on the outside, without real substance on the inside. He want us to focus primarily on our authentic relationship with Him.

The first part of the chapter speaks to these core spiritual practices: prayer, fasting and giving. In fact, at the end of the chapter, the oft quoted verse, "seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides." I believe this idea of seeking God's Kingdom and righteousness specifically relates to the three spiritual practices mentioned of praying, fasting and giving in secret. The last part of the verse "all these things taken together will be given you besides" refers to the repeated promise throughout the chapter of "your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open." 

The second part of the chapter warns against being anxious about material possessions and life in general, stating, "stop being perpenually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life ... is not life greater [in quality] than ..." you fill in the blank there. Your life is more than your job, your clothes, your possessions. Much more, because you are a child of the King. 

The chapter may be summed up by verse 24, "No one can serve two masters: for either he will hat the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and ... money ... or whatever is trusted in." It is great to work hard, and provide for your family, but is your devotion to material possessions causing you at any point to despise what God has called you to spend your life on? If you begin to despise what God has called your life to be, you need to take a step back and reconsider your devotion levels. Your devotion should be pointed clearly towards God's Kingdom and righteousness.