Choose God First and Everything Else Will Fall into Place :: by Sean Gooding

Matthew chapter 6:21-34 (continued)

“For where your wealth is, there your heart will be also. ‘The eye is the lamp of the body.’ So if you have a ‘good eye’ [that is, if you are generous] your whole body will be full of light; but if you have an ‘evil eye’ [if you are stingy] your whole body will be full of darkness. If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!No one can be slave to two masters; for he will either hate the first and love the second, or scorn the second and be loyal to the first. You can’t be a slave to both God and money.

‘Therefore, I tell you, don’t worry about your life — what you will eat or drink; or about your body — what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds flying about! They neither plant nor harvest, nor do they gather food into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they are? Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to his life?’

And why be anxious about clothing? Think about the fields of wild irises, and how they grow. They neither work nor spin thread, yet I tell you that not even Shlomo in all his glory was clothed as beautifully as one of these.If this is how God clothes grass in the field — which is here today and gone tomorrow, thrown in an oven — won’t he much more clothe you? What little trust you have!

So don’t be anxious, asking, ‘What will we eat?’ ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘How will we be clothed?’ For it is the pagans who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Don’t worry about tomorrow — tomorrow will worry about itself! Today has enough ‘tsuris’ already!” [The Complete Jewish Bible]

We ended our last lesson with a question about who is your God. We see that Jesus is teaching us about the change from our hearts out to our bodies. This is the kind of change that is effected by the Holy Spirit living in us and us allowing Him to take charge and change us.This is called submission; a very hard thing for us humans to do. We don’t like to submit or rather we don’t like to think that we are submitting.

The devil allows us to think that we are ling free when in fact we are in submission to him and his ways. God’s way or the Devil’s way, those are the only choices available to people no matter what else appear to be offered. Two kingdoms, two kings, two destination and two lifestyles; Jesus warns us that we can only be loyal to one king at a time, either God or the devil but we cannot share allegiances. Our minds and God’s laws will not let this happen.

In the lesson today Jesus continues to teach on what true Godly living is all about. It is not about rituals and religious actions but rather a lifestyle that engulfs all that we are and do. In reference to the money and earthly treasures Jesus warns us to be weary of saving them up and depending on them.God’s desire in blessing us is that we bless others.

How Do You See Your riches?Verses 22-23

Are your riches yours to serve yourself or are they God’s given to you to serve others? How you view your possessions will determine who you are and who your God is. If you view your wealth and possessions as something to be hoarded and it is used as a standard of accomplishment as is the case in most of the world then it is very hard for us to share it and give it to others.

Wealth is a just reward for hard work and if one has worked hard and is doing very well it is easy to become resentful and hard hearted towards those that are less financially fortunate and we perceive to be lazy. The truth is that all wealth comes from God. There are many hard working people who do not get wealthy. Their effort is no less than any other; God simply does not allow them to become wealthy as that is His prerogative to do so.

There are some people who get rich by chance, the lottery or some discovery or invention that God allows. Here is a Biblical principle: Generous people always have enough and stingy people never have enough, no matter how rich they are. If God is in charge of you and your money then you will be generous, God is generous and if He controls your money then you will be as well.

If you view your money as some treasure to be hidden and counted often as a status symbol or as a measure of your worth then it will be your god and you will be selfish.And, even when you give it will be grudgingly. You will not view giving as a gracious act of thanksgiving but as a chore to keep up appearances.

The Cure for Anxiety, Verses 25-32

Trust God!!I should not have to say more.Somewhere along the line you have to make a decision; if God is able to provide then trust Him. If not then repent and trust Him. God is trustable; the issue then is with us and not Him.He has proven beyond any reasonable doubt that He is able and WILLING to provide for us.He provides for the unjust; how much morewill He provide for those who are justified in Jesus Christ.

I must make a confession; I can be a worrier at times.I can doubt the will of God to help me. I often worry that God will single me out and cheat me. He helps others and He offers them so much, but me, not me.God will look at my failures and faults and decide not to provide for me. This is the height of arrogance on my part and it is a false humility that challenges the character and power of God.

I think that my failures are more than God can forgive; they are more than the blood of Jesus can cover and that God will single me out of all His failing children to target.This is not the true nature and character of God. Matthew 5:45 tells us that God sends rain to the “just and the unjust” alike. You don’t see bumper crops at the Christian farmer’s fields and nothing at the lost farmer’s fields.This is not God’s nature or character.There is enough food in the world to feed all the people well. God has made sure of this. It is men who hoard it and/or use it for economic power that causes some to have and others to have little or none. God and His power are not the culprits, evil men are.

If you take an honest account of all that you have then you have enough and often more than enough. For those that are struggling in the area of needs, God has a plan for that. The New Testament church is to supply the basic needs of all that they can help as agents of God.We are God’s pantry and furniture stores and banks here on earth, and He has given to His Church the power, the ability and the mandate to help others physically.

Jesus set the example in His earthly ministry; He fed the hungry and befriended the lonely as much as He redeemed their lost souls.The religious leaders hated to be seen with the sinners and the outcast, but that is where Jesus spent most of His time.He simply loved the people.

Stop worrying, start serving! God will supply and provide.

Eyes and Hearts Right—Needs Are Provided, Verses 33-34

Put God first and promote Him to the head of all aspects of your life and all that you need will be provided. If you need anything good, ask God and He will give it to you. Keep asking and keep seeking and you will get what God determines is good for you. If you are truly subjected to God and He decided that a certain thing is NOT good for you, even though it is not a bad thing in and of itself, then you will be satisfied with His decisions and not suffer the perception of loss.

God will always give you what is good when He is in charge.When bad situations come our way it is often a lack of obedience and that ‘thing’ is of our own making.We do see in the Scripture where God allows bad things to happen to His people.The example of Job always comes to mind; God allowed some hard things to happen to Job even to the loss of his children and health.We see these things and it can cause us to fear.Job did put God first, he did seek God’s kingdom first.God Himself testified that Job was a righteous man, so why did He let these horrible things happen?

If you read the account of Job you will find that God took away what He had and then gave Him back double at the end.Sadly, most of us see the first chapters and fear; we almost read the last chapter without appreciation for what God did. Job 42: 12 tells us that God “Blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the earlier.”

You see, whatever Job had was nothing compared to what God wanted to give him.God knew where He was going and in submission to God, Job went along for the ride. Even in these situations God has our best interests at heart and wants to give us His best.We simply need to trust Him and trust His character.

“ But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

“Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20).