- At the beginning of Jesus' ministry in Matthew (4:17) it says Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The theme hasn't changed by chapter 6.
- Jesus presents for us earthly vs. kingdom of heaven. If our faith is in the things of this world, our reward will be in the things of this world. If our faith is in kingdom of heaven things, our reward will be in the kingdom of heaven.
- Jesus assumes giving to the needy and talks about earthly giving and kingdom of heaven giving. He assumes prayer and talks about earthly prayer and kingdom of heaven prayer.
- In the manner of prayer, Jesus asks us again to distinguish between earthly prayer, which trusts the careful construction of the prayer, and kingdom of heaven prayer which trusts God.
- Jesus then gives us a sample of kingdom of heaven prayer. It is the prayer of a heart that wants the kingdom of heaven - that wants God's rule. After that, it also requests for our needs now. It is a prayer that seeks first the kingdom of heaven and then other things.
- Jesus assumes people will harm and offend us and requests that we respond in kingdom of heaven fashion and forgive and not in earthly fashion holding the offense.
- Jesus assumes fasting, and requests fasting for kingdom of heaven reasons and not earthly reasons.
- Jesus assumes treasures, and requests that we care about kingdom of heaven treasures rather than earthly treasures.
- And just in case we might think we can add the kingdom of heaven to earthly things, Jesus tells us we can't serve both masters. We must choose.
- But the choice is not ominous. God is generous and good. Since we cannot serve both the kingdom of heaven and our earthly life, Jesus requests that we not worry about food, drink, clothing, length of life or quality of life, It's not that God is opposed to these things. In fact He provides them to the most insignificant creatures and the most transient plants. Of course God will care for us. But it's critical whom we serve.
I am so prone to wanting the earthly, and then wanting to add the kingdom of heaven. The construction of both my soul and my body are so oriented. Knowledge of good and evil puts me at the decision point, which in my finiteness, leads to sin, and then to death. All thanks to God, who puts His Spirit in me, from whom there is life and the kingdom of heaven.
Lord, thank you for your grace. Will you destroy utterly that in my soul and body which serves the earthly and build the work of the Spirit which serves the kingdom of heaven.
Posted on Wed, August 26, 2015
by Brian Landers