Perfectionism is Impossible; Transformation Isn’t, Mt. 6 1-6, 16-21
Ash Wednesday 3/2/22
All through Matthew Chapter 6, as Jesus taught about various spiritual practices, he never used the word “if.” In today’s passage, he said, “When you give to the needy…,” “When you pray...,” When you fast…” Jesus “assumes that people will continue to do all of these. What matters is learning to do them simply to and for God himself.
Jesus did not condemn all public prayers. He did say that shouldn’t be the only place we pray.
Every relationship grows deeper with connection and communication. I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I need to pray more,” but the truth is, we need to open ourselves to GOD and be ready to respond. God is constantly speaking and showing up;
we are the ones who move in and out of consciousness with respect to God. BUT if we open up to GOD, GOD can TRANSFORM US.
The Heart of a Disciple is a heart of attentiveness, and devoting ourselves to prayer is the main way we confirm our desire to hear from God and then put what we have heard into action.
I believe that prayer is as necessary to our spiritual life as oxygen and food are to our physical bodies.
Without prayer, we starve our relationship with God.
Bishop Rueben Job explains to us, “Prayer is not meant to be complicated, complex, and left to professionals. Prayer is for all of us. It is simply offering the fears, needs, hopes, longings, and questions of our minds and hearts to God as honestly, earnestly, and accurately as we can....It is God’s seeking love and invitation that awaken within us the desire, courage, and need to pray.”
Hear this Call to Action: take another step in your practice of prayer this week knowing that prayer nourishes your relationship with God.
Let me remind you of the last three verses of this evenings Scripture, Mt. 6:19-21, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Let me ask you all just a few questions, 1) Where are your thoughts?
2) What do you think about?
3) Are your thoughts on earth or on heaven?
4) Is your mind on earthly things or on the things of God?
5) What are you seeking for, the things of this earth; or the things of heaven?
6) Where is your heart, focused: on earth or focused on heaven?
It is interesting to note in these three verses that Jesus is concerned about money, possessions, and material things. And His big concern is that we guard ourselves against focusing our lives around houses, furnishings, cars, trucks, lands, buildings, stocks and bonds, and all the things that make up security and wealth on this earth.
And Jesus is telling us in this passage that nothing on this earth is secure.
Nothing on this earth is lasting.
Everything is aging.
Everything is decaying.
And Everything is wasting away.
The first thing we must do to get focused on storing up treasures in Heaven is to be honest. We must live truthfully!
That’s what the season of Lent is all about!
Living truthfully is a mark of God’s grace in our lives. God is actively at work, moving in and through the messiness of things, illuminating our lives, and prompting our desire to see what is really going on.
Because we are created in God’s image and our destiny is to be restored to the fullness of that image, we need to discern our responsibility in refusing and failing to live according to God’s good purposes.
We need to acknowledge that we are incapable of resolving things according to our own wisdom and power. Grace assists us to be honest with God, ourselves, and others. This requires humility, and a desire to change our minds and the direction of our lives and characters. That’s Transformation!!
What Jesus is saying here is - you can do one of three things with your life:
#1 You can Waste it; #2 You can Spend it; #3 You can Invest it!
This season of Lent I would like to invest your life with GOD; give to help ease the suffering, pray, as you open your heart to GOD; and fast from TV and other media, and spend the time with GOD. Open up to GOD, so GOD can Transform you!