I decided to challenge myself this month to dig into the book of Matthew to prepare my heart for Easter. Every day I read one chapter and I have continuously found myself in awe of what God is doing in my heart as He reveals more of who Jesus is and who He is. Earlier this week I read chapter 6 and I couldn’t help but write down nearly every verse in my journal. Tonight I wanted to share with you the important lessons I’ve been learning and I hope it encourages you to dig deeper into the Word this week.
THE BALANCE OF HUMILITY
Matthew 6:1, 3-4, 6
The balance between pridefulness and humility has been an intense battle for me my whole life. I over-analyze everything that I do. “Am I nice enough?” quickly turns to “am I a pushover?” and vice versa. I spent a lot of time trying to be noticed to get promoted but I have also spent a lot of time serving in the background faithfully. I have been prideful and arrogant. I have confused humility for self-depreciation. I have dealt with both extremes and had to fight my way to balance them (something I still struggle with).
In these verses of Matthew 6, it clearly states that you should “not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.” Keep your giving a secret even from yourself. This is such an interesting and confusing concept to me. How do you not see the bad habits in yourself? Because they are, well, habits. Making giving, generosity and kindness habits so that you may hide them from yourself. Acknowledge that you are good in God’s eyes and that you will do good. Let doing good be a habit and not a point of pride.
“Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Out of all my most constant struggles- comparison is the worse. I fall into its trap almost every single day. I’ve been open with you all before about my struggles with this when it comes to looking at other people’s relationships or steps they are walking through in life. This verse reminds me over and over of God’s unique purpose and plan for my life.
God does not want my walk to look like someone else’s. He says exactly that: “do not be like them” in Matthew. God knows the desires of your heart and as long as you continue to pursue Him- He will give them to you in His way and His timing. I have learned that God’s will is much better than mine even when I have it all planned out.
This lesson in Matthew 6 was a brand-new lesson for me. Jesus says that when you fast, “put oil on your head and wash your face so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting.” I honestly had no clue that we were supposed to act like this when going through a fast. God doesn’t just want us to not complain or to really dig into Him, but He wants people to see us in the refreshed and renewed way that we will be when we have completed in our fast.
God wants our relationship to be with us and Him and no one else. God wants others to see His love and kindness reflect into our daily lives from our time with Him. While we may be keeping ourselves from worldly things, God wants us to put a smile on our face and show the world how excited we are to have a new, refreshed spirit by the end of our fast.
Matthew 6:25-27, 31, 33-34
I tell you what, 2017 was a year of endless financial worry. It seemed like my money was flying out of my hands before I could even count it. I am beyond lucky to have parents who still financially support me as I go through my final years in college. If I didn’t have them around, I would be way worse off. In December, I was so broke I couldn’t afford gas. That was the lowest point for me. Every day felt like I was grinding my teeth as I watched my bank account dwindle slowly into oblivion. I was in between jobs and trying to finish the most difficult semester of college yet.
I found freedom in these verses. God specifically points to financial stress and declares that to be removed from your life. I know I don’t have any mouths to feed and that my worry and stress was extremely premature and kind of immature. When I think about the past six months I think to myself, “how lucky that God provided me with a family who let me stay at their home for free and provide me with everything I need?” I know that I am lucky and privileged. When you are feeling the pain and worry about when the next paycheck will come, know that God will never let you go hungry and thirsty.
I hope that you all spend some time in these Scriptures and dwell on what they mean to you. It takes only 5 minutes to open up your Bible and spend some time with God. God wants to send you a message through the Word that He can’t send you anywhere else. I challenge you to spend every day this coming week reading your Bible for just five minutes. I pray that it reveals more of who God is to you and brings you peace in a restless world. x