Joyce Meyer - Matthew 6 Bible Study
Well, welcome to the program today. We are so glad that you've joined us. And today we're gonna study through the sixth chapter of Matthew. You know, I've been encouraging people for quite a while now to not just read the word, but to study the word and just basically trying to go verse by verse through some of these chapters and just show you how easy it is really to let God show you things out of the word. And so first of all, we pray in Jesus' name that through the Holy Spirit, we would be taught today because I know that I'm a teacher, but he's the teacher so we trust him for anointing on this and that we'll all be helped.
Matthew chapter 6 has got so many rich lessons in it and so here we go, Matthew chapter 6 and verse 1, "Take care not to do your good deeds publicly or before men, in order to be seen by them: otherwise you'll have no reward reserved for and awaiting you with and from your father who is in heaven". So we're gonna see in Matthew chapter 6 that it talks a fair amount about motives, and I've learned over the years that why we do something is much more important to God than what we do. I think as human beings we get all caught up in what we do. "Well, look what I did. Look, what I did. Look what I did". And we have to be very careful that even the good things that we do are not done to impress someone or you can even take the example of giving.
You know if we're giving to someone really with a secret aim and motive to get something back from them, then it's really not true giving. The only way giving is real giving is if we're doing it strictly to honor God in obedience or for the other person. And God knows more about our motives than we do. Motives are something that are very difficult sometimes to get in touch with because to be honest, it's sometimes difficult to be that honest with yourself to say, "Well, you know, I did this, but I really wanted people to notice me and applaud". Or, "You know, I did this," but there was a secret motive there of wanting to get something back. You know, I could do nice things for the most popular person at church because I want to make sure that I get invited to all the parties they give and that's not true giving.
To me, these are very, very important lessons and so I want us all to take this today as being important and perhaps if we would just slow down enough in our life to stop occasionally and say, "Okay, now this is what I'm doing, but why am I doing it"? I think then we become more wholehearted before God and we find then that we don't lose our reward. I wonder how many so-called good works we do that we never really see the reward because we haven't stopped long enough to say, "Am I doing this for the right reason"? And so I want to make a point here that it says it doesn't really say it's wrong to do good deeds publicly. It doesn't really say it's wrong even if someone sees you. It just says don't do them in order to be seen by them. Sometimes it's almost impossible for someone not to know that you're doing something and honestly, sometimes I think it's good for relationship for people to know that you're the one that's doing something for them. When we give to one another, it bonds us together.
So I don't want people to misunderstand or take it too far and think that every time they do something it's gotta be a big secret, although there are times when that's good. I think sometimes it's just good training. I take it as like good training to me to just see, can I do this and let God have all the credit? You know how hard it is even when you pray for somebody and somebody comes back and they tell you this great thing that God did for them, how difficult it is not to say, "Oh yes, I've been praying for that". And, you know, that maybe is not always bad but it always gets back to the motive so that's kind of the direction we're headed here in the first part of Matthew 6. "Thus whenever you give to the poor".
And I want you to notice there's several things they're gonna talk about here like, "When you pray, when you fast, when you give to the poor," and it never says, "If you do it". The assumption is there that we are to be doing those things. So, "When we give to the poor, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites in the synagogues and in the streets like to do". A hypocrite is officially a pretender, somebody who pretends to do something that they're really just doing for wrong reasons, they're doing it to show off. And if you ever want to find a group of people that Jesus kind of aggressively had some things to say about, it was the hypocrites and the pharisees. And he said, "You're like whitewash tombs full of dead men's bones". In other words, everything looks good on the outside, but inside you're still a mess and we know that God is a God of hearts.
So, "Don't blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites in the synagogues and in the streets like to do, that they may be recognized and honored and praised by men. Truly I tell you, that they have their reward in full already. When you give to charity, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing". So that basically means that even for me, like, let's just say that I remember going on a trip to India where we just had just such amazing ministry, unbelievable crowds. It was just like oh, you know, it was just phenomenal. And I try to practice when I get back home, not sitting in the mornings and just wallowing in my, "Oh, oh, that was so good and, wow, nobody's ever done this before and on and on and on. To me, that's what it means not to let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
In other words, when I do something and I know that God was working through me then when it's done, it's done and I need to go on to the next thing he has for me. You know not that you can't be pleased that you had a success. Everything has to be looked at in balance, but we don't need to sit around and think about how good we are or how amazed people were at our performance. I think we need to just, "God, it was you working through me. I give you the credit, and I don't need to sit around think about how good I am". And verse 4, "So do it that your deeds of charity might be in secret: and your father who sees in secret," and I love this, "Will reward you openly". See, we can always expect a reward from God and we should expect a reward from God because I think expectation is a huge part of us receiving. I frankly think that there's a lot of people that don't expect enough. I think we kind of have this vague attitude of "Well, we'll just see what God does". But you know the word "To wait on God" actually means to expect, to look, and to long for God.
So I've kind of formed a habit of saying on a regular basis, "God, I'm expecting you to do something awesome in my life today. I'm expecting to hear from you. I'm expecting to be a blessing everywhere that I go". I don't think that our expectation should just be all about what we get, you know, a lot of it should be about what we can do for other people also. Now I'm gonna tell you a little story about me and maybe you've heard it before but it just fits into this situation so good that I need to tell it. Now thankfully I can say this has been about 30 years ago and I'm glad I can say that because I'd hate to tell you it was yesterday. So, but when I was learning these things, and I felt like that I had a good lesson from God about this just like I'm giving you. So bottom line is is you can expect to be tested.
So we're talking today about doing things in secret, and doing them just to glorify God, and not doing them for wrong reasons to be seen. And so I'm just letting you know that probably an opportunity for you is gonna come up for you to do something a little quietly or do it more loudly and you're gonna have to choose. So here's my story, I was getting my nails done and there were the girl working on me and me and then one lady waiting. And so I started talking with the lady that was waiting. She knew that I was a Bible teacher and had been to a couple of my sessions, I think. And so she was talking about how she worked in a cancer hospital in a cancer unit and how hard it was to have these restrictions on her that she couldn't talk to anybody about, you know, believing God for healing or being comforted by God because they had a rule in the hospital they had to keep their religion to themselves.
And so I felt like God gave me this idea. At the time these rhinestone Jesus pins that women wore several years ago were very popular, not so much now but they were very popular then, and they were pretty flashy and nice size. And I just kind of felt it came to my heart to just give her that pin and to just tell her, "Okay, they can't dictate to you what kind of Jewelry you can wear and so just put this on your uniform and when you bend over those patients to take care of them, they'll see the name of Jesus and I believe there's enough power in the name of Jesus that it actually will bless them and minister to them". So I'd been studying about doing things in secret so I'm kind of communicating with God and getting my nails done there. I'm saying like, "You know, how can I do this in secret? And, you know, kind of planning out when I'm gonna do it and had these little thoughts about the girl doing my nails and what she might think about my goodness and so on and so forth.
You know, it's amazing how you can be trying to be good and yet, you know, be having such stinky thoughts at the same time. And so I'll never forget this, the girl that was doing my nails ran out of a product that she was using. Well, the supply house to get those products was right next door to her shop and so she said, "You know what? I'm gonna have to run next door and get some more of these products, but I'll just be gone a few minutes". Well, I knew that I knew that God was opening the door for me to do that in secret. But do you think I did? And here's the way I reasoned it out in my mind. Now this is the dangers of reasoning. I thought well, you know, it probably would really help this girl that's doing my nails if she saw my generosity because then it might be a lesson to her that she needs to be more generous.
Somehow or another I fiddled around, and reasoned around, and thought, and pididdled with it until the girl came back and then I had no choice at the end but to just, "Well, yeah, I felt like God told me to give you this". And, of course, everybody thought I was wonderful and, you know, good and I got yay, yay, yay. And, you know, when I left it was like the Lord said to me, "I hope you enjoyed that, that's all you're getting". And so I wonder how many times we trade that momentary clap for what God would give us, and who knows what that would be but it certainly would be a lot more than a handclap.
You see, here's one of the things that I want to bring across today. I really think that we need to have more of a secret relationship with God. I think in an intimate relationship with anybody there should be secrets. There should be things that you just shouldn't be telling other people, things that should just be between you and God and I believe that if we are willing to keep God's secrets that he'll tell us more secrets, amen? And so let's just really pray and really take these lessons to heart that God will really help us to be willing to wait on his reward and not try to get our reward ourselves. And then verse 5, "And when you pray," not if you pray, "You must not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they might be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full already".
Now, you know, you're gonna see in a minute it says, "When you pray, go into your closet". Well, obviously there's private time of prayer with God and hopefully we all have a place that we like to be, not that you can't pray in any place, but I have a place I go in the morning to get my day started right. And maybe it's your car or where you walk at lunch, I don't know, but we need to have a place keeping in mind that we can pray anyplace, but there's also times when we pray together as groups or we are called upon to pray in public. And I'll just be honest with ya and tell ya that I've caught myself many times praying on the platform and being more concerned about what the people think of my prayer than if I'm really connecting with God.
And so I purposed today when I started this prayer to try to ignore all of you and what you might be thinking about my prayer and really just talk to God. And I think for all of us, there is a part of us that's from the fallen nature that we just want to be well thought of but I do think that we need to come to the point where my reputation or your reputation in heaven is much more important to you than your reputation here on earth. So when you pray, don't do it so people will think that you're great. Try to just stay connected with God when you pray. "And when you pray, go into your most private room, and, close the door, pray to your father, who's in secret: and your father, who sees in secret, will reward you openly. And when you pray," not if you pray, "When you pray, do not heap up phrases (multiplying words, repeating the same ones over and over) as the gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their much speaking".
Now boy, is this ever a good one because I think for some reason we've got this notion that long prayers are better than short prayers, and I know there's been times in my life when God has challenged me, "Why don't you try this week just asking me for whatever you need in the fewest amount of words possible"? And, you know, it's hard for us to just say, "Well Lord, I ask you to forgive me for my sin. I'm so sorry and I receive it, thank you". You know, we want to go on and on and on and on and on and on and on. Or so I think it's very interesting that, to me, it's the amount of faith that's in the prayer that's much more important than the amount of words.
And here again if I get so caught up in my words and my sounding eloquent, then all of a sudden, I've really sometimes even kind of forgot what I'm trying to say. So I'm gonna give ya a great example 'cause the Bible does tell us to become like little children. And I'll tell ya a great example that my daughter just told me last week. She has a little grandchild named Jeremiah, he's my great grandchild. Yes, I have a great grandchild but it happens young these days, you know? And Jeremiah's 2 and they've taught him to pray. And so his mother was sick, she had hurt her back and it was hurting so bad that she was laying in bed crying. And Jeremiah, now try to picture this, goes up to her, lays his hand on her, says, "Jesus, mommy, ouchy, amen". And her back quit hurting. I mean her back immediately quit hurting. And I thought, man, am I gonna use that. And as you can see, it didn't take me long. My family tells me, "It doesn't take you long to stick everything in a message somewhere". But isn't that phenomenal?
You know just the simplicity of child-likeness. He wasn't trying to be seen, or noticed, or be applauded". You know, he just wanted his mom's back to stop hurting and so he didn't feel like he needed to go on and on and on. I mean what was that like five words? I don't know. Verse 8, "Do not be like them, the hypocrites," and I love this, "For your father knows what you need before you ask him". So, you know, the question then becomes, "Well, if he knows what I need before I ask him, then why do I need to ask"? Well, obviously because he tells us to and it's part of relationship. Any one of my children that walk in my house they already know that they can have anything that they want in my refrigerator but most of the time, not all the time, but most of the time they'll say, "Can I have some of this turkey? Can I have a piece of this cake? You know, can I have it"? And that's just, it's just relationship to ask and receive.
Even though God knows what we need, we still want to go to him and I'm always very fond of James 4:2, "You have not because you ask not". That's just been like one of my favorite lifetime scriptures that so many times we frustrate ourselves trying to make something happen and all we really need to do is just go and ask God for it. "Do not be like them, for your father knows what you need before you ask him". Now, we come upon what we call the Lord's prayer, which to be honest, the disciples are asking Jesus to teach them to pray and so this is Jesus teaching people how to pray. And if you look at this, I mean it probably takes less than a minute. But here again it has to be sincere. And, of course, when you pray the same prayer over and over like we have done for years with the Lord's prayer, it is pretty easy to just get into reciting and not paying any attention.
And there have been people that have taught and I think it's a good teaching that you can take each one of these points in the Lord's prayer and you can expand them. You can talk to the Lord about them as long as you want to but there's nothing here saying that you have to. So it simply goes like this, "Our father who's in heaven," we start out with worship, "Holy is your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven". I want your will, God. Whatever your will is in the earth today, let that be done in the nations, let that be done in my life, let that be done in our ministry. There's a little expansion of it. "Give us this day our daily bread," wow, what a way to get all your daily needs met. "Give us this day our daily bread". You know, there's no demanding spirit here. You know, I hate that demanding thing that we get into sometimes. "Now, Lord, if I don't get a breakthrough in a week, I just don't know if I can hold on".
You know we're not gonna demand from God or threaten God that we're gonna walk away if he doesn't give us what we want. We need to be pleased with everything we get and trust him. "Forgive us our debts," I love this, "As we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors". I wonder what would happen if every time before we ever ask God to forgive our sins if we would just simply say to ourselves, "Now, am I mad at anybody about anything"? Gotta be quiet for a minute and let you think. "Am I mad at anybody about anything"? Because if we believe what this scripture says, it basically goes on to say that if we don't forgive other people, that God won't forgive us. And, of course, I'm not doing a whole teaching today on forgiveness but to be honest, it's one of the most important teachings in the word of God.
It is unbelievable how many people that are Christians are angry at someone, I mean really astounding. And we have to understand that we are living in times when satan is doing his absolute best to keep people angry and offended and we must be smart enough to resist him, not assist him. Amen? "If you forgive people," verse 14, "Their trespasses their reckless and willful sins, leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses their reckless and willful sins". He's not even saying that they hurt you accidentally. He's saying they did it on purpose. They're willful sins and we still need to forgive them.
"Leaving them, letting them go, and giving up resentment, neither will your father forgive you. And when you're fasting," not if you fast, when you fast, "Do not look gloomy and sour and dreary like the hypocrites, for they put a dismal countenance on their face, that their fasting may be apparent to and be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward in heaven". Now I certainly don't have time here to do a big long teaching on fasting and I'm well aware that some of you probably don't even, aren't even familiar with that term, I know I was a Christian for many years before I was. All the great people we read about in the Bible fasted. Jesus fasted. Paul fasted. Esther fasted just over and over and over. Daniel fasted. And like I said, I'm not here to give a big discourse on fasting but it's a time to show God your sincerity. It's a time to separate yourself from eating for a period of time just to give yourself more to prayer. And some fasts are long, some could just be a few hours.
I noticed in the Book of Acts where the disciples said that they had fasted and prayed and then God showed them that they were to separate Paul and Barnabas unto them and send them out into their ministry. Well, I don't think they'd been fasting for weeks and days. For all I know, they got together that morning and they just hadn't eaten yet and it was noon and so sometimes it's a short period of time. Sometimes people fast certain things. Daniel ate no pleasant food for 21 days so perhaps he didn't eat any bread or any sweets. I know one man that every year in the month of January, he just doesn't eat any kind of bread or sweets for 30 days. There have been a couple times when I fasted television for 30 days at a time just to not let something get a hold on me.
Another purpose for fasting is just to say, "You know, I don't need to drink three soda pop every day and so I'm not gonna drink any for 30 days just because I don't think it would be godly to let this thing get a hold of me". So, and I think that sometimes this is just my opinion, I fasted a lot more in the early days of my ministry than I do now and I've kind of come to the point now where my goal is to live more of a fasted life. I mean there's some people who feel just for spiritual discipline, they should fast one day every week and they do that. So I'm not here to give you lessons about it, I'm just to say that it's something we should pray about and consider and whenever we do it in whatever way we do it, we don't need to announce it or to go around, "I'm starving. Oh, my gosh. I feel like I'm gonna faint and pass out". So all of these things really refer to motives.
Let's look at verse 17, "But whenever you fast, perfume your head and wash your face," look happy, don't look hungry, "So that your fasting may not be noticed by men". Now it's impossible to fast for very long and the people that are close around you not know that you're doing it 'cause you get curious after a while about why you're never eating. So it's here again. It's not that you can't tell anybody but we need to have a purpose for telling people, not just to make a display out of it. So then he goes on verse 19 he says, "Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal. But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal".
So, I think that the long and the short of that message is to: let's don't live for earthly things, and for earthly applause, and for our earthly reputation, and to be well thought of by men, and to be seen, and noticed, and to be promoted because if that's where our treasure is, if that's what we think about all the time, that's where our heart is, that's where your treasure is, that's where your heart's gonna be what you put yourself into. You know my heart's with joyce meyer ministries because I have put so much of my life into this so there's a good possibility it means more to me than anybody else in the building.
See, when you really, what you put yourself into, that's what really means a lot to you. And so he says we need to be making the decisions that we make with more of a heart of eternity in mind in the fact that we're eternal beings that are gonna live forever someplace and we want to be in the right place. And I think a lot of our reward, we will get here but more than what we're gonna get here, we're gonna get in heaven. And so I hope that you enjoyed this teaching today on Matthew chapter 6 and thank all of you for being with us.
Well, welcome to the program. We're so happy that you've joined us today. We're doing one of our Bible studies today that we've been doing now on and off for a few months just encouraging you to realize how many wonderful lessons there are in the word of God and that we should not just read the Bible just for quantity to see how much we can get done, but actually study it for quality. I would rather you read one verse, study one verse, and actually get something out of it than to read half of the Bible and get nothing.
So, yesterday we started on Matthew chapter 6 and I didn't quite get done so thank God for today. Most of what we studied yesterday was about our motives and in Matthew chapter 6 it starts out saying that when you give and when you do good deeds, don't do them to be seen of men or to be applauded, you know, don't make a bunch of noise and ruckus about it but make sure that we do what we do unto the Lord and that if we do things to get an earthly reward, then we're going to lose our reward, but if we do things unto God and trust him for our reward, then what we do in secret, God always sees. And you know I think that that's kind of a thought that I would like to start with today because I think about so many people who have assignments from God that are very private, you know, maybe you're called as a helper in the body of Christ.
And I don't know, let's just say maybe you clean the church on Sunday after everybody's gone, well, you know, sometimes people can forget the people who do those kind of jobs and they don't maybe get the appreciation that they should but God sees. If your assignment is as an intercessor and you spend many hours a day praying for other people who don't even know you're praying for them, God sees. And I like to remember that we need to always live before what I call the all-seeing eye because God sees everything and he knows everything and we cannot hide anything from God. I don't know where you might be in your walk with God today or even if you have a walk with God, but let me tell you that God sees you, he knows you, it was him that formed you in your mother's womb. He has a purpose for you. He has a plan for you. And you need to think about what you're living for because if you're just living to get money, fame, you know, you can spend all your life climbing the ladder of success and find out at the end that your ladder was leaned against the wrong building.
How many people do we all know that just live for all the wrong reasons and then they ended up with no family, nobody that cares about them, many times they're just stressed out and worn out and life just becomes meaningless to them? And so, it's very important that we do what we do unto the Lord. In Colossians chapter 3 it says, "Whatever you do, whatever might be your task, work at it heartily as unto the Lord as something done for him and not for man". And I have to keep this in mind too, you know? Why am I still doing what I'm doing after all these years?
Well, I can guarantee you that I'm doing it for the Lord because I'm old enough and have worked long enough that I can think about retirement. I was with a bunch of people last week and they were all talking about retirement. "Well, I've retired. I've retired. I'm gonna retire in June. You know, I've retired. Joyce, when are you gonna retire"? I was like, I don't think anybody wants me to do that. I'm thinking that's not what I'm gonna be doing and I don't even want to. Dave and I talked about it later and that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it, you know, but for me, that's not what I want 'cause I still want to be fruitful all the days of my life. And so, you know, just everything you do, do it unto the Lord.
Matthew chapter 6, verse 21, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light. But if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you your conscience is darkened, how dense is that darkness"! There's a pretty good chance that a lot of people have read this a long time, myself included many times, and didn't get a thing out of it. So, I thought this morning, I'm just gonna wait on this a little bit and just really see what's in here. So, first of all, our conscience is like a light in us, and so, one of the worst things that we can do is sin against our own conscience.
When we do things that we know are wrong, it has a terrible affect on us. There's no harder pillow to sleep on or to try to sleep on than a guilty conscience and there's no more comfortable place to be than to go to bed at night knowing that although you weren't perfect that day and you made mistakes, that your heart was right toward God and if it wasn't, then you can quickly get it right before you try to go to sleep. And so, he's talking about here how we see things and why we do things. If your eye is sound, then your body will be full of light. If I shut my eyes then everything right now is dark but if I open my eyes and I let the light in, then I have light to do many things.
So, let's just think about living with an evil eye versus a good eye. When I look at people, do I look at them suspiciously or do I say I'm gonna believe the best like the Bible says? And we all know that a lot of our issues are with people. You know what? We'd all be so godly if there were no people but we might just be a little bit lonely and not get very much done. I used to say when my kids were little and I was first learning all things, I could get along with everybody when nobody was home, it was when they came home that I had the problem. And so, how we look at people, and how we talk about people, and how we view people, and if we're gonna have a merciful attitude toward people, we want to make sure that we're living with a loving eye and not with an evil eye because how I look at you and judge you does get in me and it does affect my joy, my peace, and my walk with God.
So, let's keep our eyes full of light. Verse 24, "No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate 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 mammon which is (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in" so, this is just a great place to talk about being wholehearted for a few minutes and to set your heart wholly on what you know that God wants you to do. You know, in romans chapter 12, it talks about the different gifts that God gives people and it says if you're a teacher, just give yourself to your teaching. If you're a giver, give yourself to giving and do it with simplicity. If you're encourager, then just get busy and encourage.
We don't all need to be like everybody else, we just need to know what God wants us to do. And, you know, in the world people judge things as well, you know, surely the teacher is more important than the encourager but that's all worldly stuff. That's not God's thing. And so, whatever you do, you need to do it, and I need to do it, with a whole heart, not a divided heart. When our hearts are divided, there's a place, I don't remember the reference but the question was asked in the Old Testament, how long are you gonna halt and limp between two opinions? If God is God, then serve God, and if Baal is God, then serve Baal. And we know Baal's not God but these people were trying to have one foot in both worlds.
And I think that that's very important for us to maybe think about for a few minutes today because maybe how many of you are trying to be a Christian? You got your foot in the Christian world and you want a relationship with God, you want to make sure you can go to heaven. You really do have a love for God but then on the other hand, you really like all these ungodly friends you have and maybe this ungodly job that you have that pays you a lot of money and you really don't want to lose this job so over here on Monday through Friday, you have to make compromises that make you feel bad inside but then on Sunday, you go to church and I call people like that sometimes Sunday morning warriors and Monday morning whiners. You know, we need to make sure that we're the same all the time.
I think to me one of the greatest compliments anybody ever gives me or ever says about me is, "Joyce is the same wherever you see her". Now, they don't see me all the time behind closed doors at home. You know, how many of you know that if we're gonna let out the bad side, it's always in front of people that we know can't get rid of us? But I really do make a holy ghost effort to be the same all the time. I think the worst thing we can do is stand up and tell somebody else what to do and not do it ourselves and that's what the pharisees and the hypocrites did that was such a problem for Jesus. They were telling everybody else what to do but they weren't doing it themselves, you know? It's easy to teach, the hard part is living. It's even easy to sit there and hear. It's easy for you to flip your TV on every morning and think maybe you've put in your time with God because I've done all the work and you just gotta lay there in your bed, or sit there in your chair, or whatever and just take it in, but we always need to listen with an intent to do, always.
There's no point in even going to church if you're just going to hear a message that you haven't even decided yet whether you're gonna do or not, and I think we need to put a little more thought into that. And so, you can't serve two things. You gotta make your mind up what you want to give your life for. You only have one life to give away. And so I'm just gonna pose the question to you today, what do you want to give it for? Let's say you live a hundred years. That sounds like a long time but that's nothing compared to eternity forever and ever and ever and ever. You know, we go on and say that forever and still be standing here saying it. And so, we need to be wise investors and we need to chose right things now knowing that every good choice produces a good harvest and not be what I call a gambler where we think we can do the wrong thing now and maybe hopefully we'll be the one that gets by with it. It just doesn't work like that.
So, make your mind up who you're gonna serve and serve him with your whole heart. Verse 25, "Therefore I tell you, stop being perpetually uneasy (anxious and worried) about your life, what you're gonna eat or what you're gonna drink: or about your body, what you're gonna put on". I'm just gonna take a little bit of liberty here and say about what people think of me, about the neighborhood you live in, you know, the car you drive. The thing to do is to do the best that you can and not be worried and concerned about what everybody thinks about it. And then he goes into this discourse about, "Look at the birds of the air," verse 26, "They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are you not worth more than they are"? Can everybody in here say, "I'm worth more than a bird"? And I just dare you to say it at home too right there by yourself out loud. "I am worth more than a bird".
And so, you know, I say jokingly, I've never seen a bird sitting on a branch having a nervous breakdown because they're not sure where their next worm is gonna come from. You know, God feeds them. He takes care of them and not one sparrow falls to the ground without our father's notice. He's counted every hair on our head and everyone we've lost as time goes by. You know what is amazing to me about the Bible really is it is so practical and so simple, that's why it's not hard for you to learn from it. And please, if you have swallowed the lie from satan that you just can't understand the Bible, "Well, I just can't understand the Bible. I read it and I don't get anything out of it".
Well, you know first of all, there's all kinds of translations available today that really help you get more out of it than maybe some of the old Elizabethan English and, you know, it's the word that's holy, not the cover it's between. So, we don't want to think, well, we can only read this or we can only read that. We want to make sure that what we read and study is accurate but I use an amplified Bible a lot and if you can't understand the word, we have a study Bible available. There's many other study Bibles available, things that help you. I have all kind of study tools, all kinds of things that help me understand more and that's what it means to study. To read means I just go: okay, I got my checkmark today, God's happy, and I didn't learn anything. But to take even 30 minutes a day and study will be totally and completely transforming in your life.
And, you know, then we think, "Well, I just don't have time to do that". You don't have time not to do that. You know, I remember years before my husband Dave came to work at the ministry. I mean I was already teaching and going around here doing four or five different Bible studies a week before Dave ever came to ministry with me. But for seven years, he was telling people someday," I'm gonna be in full-time ministry," and part of what he did was every day on his lunch hour, he would get out and walk the neighborhood and pray. Now he had an option, he could sit there with everybody else and murmur and complain and listen to their dirty jokes and be uncomfortable but instead of doing that, he made a good choice then that paid good benefits later on.
So, we don't need to be concerned about all these things that worldly people are concerned about. We need to learn the word of God and live by the word of God and that only happens as you really begin to study it more deeply. Verse 27, "And who of you by worrying and being anxious can add one unit of measure, one (cubit) to his stature or to the span of his life"? Just another practical example. You can't make yourself one bit taller if you're too tall and don't like it. You can't make yourself one bit shorter. I'd love to have hair that's got a lot more body, but my hair is like baby hair, very fine and I have to keep it real short if I want it to look like anything. And now as I've gotten a little more gray hair, which none of you will ever see, by the way, I now have this big colic in the back of my head and so when I get up every morning, it looks like the parting of the Red Sea back there. And actually Dave has to fix my hair in the back every morning now.
Well, I don't like that either, but you know what? Worrying about it is not gonna change it. Being upset about it is not gonna change it. We have to learn how to deal with things as they are, change what we can change, accept what we can't change and just learn to be happy, not worry, not be frustrated, not be frantic. How much time is wasted from worry and how many sicknesses and diseases there are just strictly from nothing but the stress that worry places on us? Verse 28, "And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow: they neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all of his magnificence (excellence, dignity, and grace) was not arrayed like one of these. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will he not much more surely clothe you, o you of little faith"? Say, "I'm worth more than grass".
So, so practical. I mean can you just get this message today? Maybe you've been worrying about stuff that you can't change. Well, God's inviting you today through this study to say, "Look, you're worth more than a bird, surely. You're worth more than the grass, surely. And look at how I decorate the lilies. There's no person on the earth who's got an outfit that's as gorgeous as that. Look at how I take care of the birds, they're not sitting on a branch having a nervous breakdown and I always take care of them". And so you say, "Well, I can't help it, I'm just a worrier". Well, the first thing you need to change is stop saying that and you need to say, "I don't have to worry, I don't need to worry because God loves me and he's taking care of me, and I can't do anything about the situation anyway".
You know I use the analogy a lot that worry's like sitting in a rocking chair rocking all day. It keeps you busy, but it gets you nowhere. You know we never make any progress from doing that but it does just keep us busy. And really when you worry, you lose your focus from the things that you should be focusing on, amen? So, God takes care of all the little things. "Therefore," verse 31, "Do not worry and be anxious saying". Boy, here we go. "Do not worry saying". Our thoughts become our words, don't they? And then our thoughts and our words become our moods. And then our thoughts, and our words, and our moods become our attitudes, and then we leave the house to go out in the world and we go with a bad attitude in a bad mood with a scowl on our face all because we're doing something that's not doing any good at all. And, you know, I had to face facts years ago as a teacher that it's pretty useless to tell people not to worry.
You say, "Well, then why are you doing it today"? Because I have to keep telling you. And you say, "Well, wait a minute, I'm discouraged if you say it's useless". Well, it's not that you won't eventually get it, but I'll tell you what it takes to stop worrying. How many of you want to know what it really takes to stop worrying? Are you ready for this? Okay, you have to finally try everything that you can try and finally realize that you're just not smart enough to run your own life or to solve your own problems. "I can't figure this out. I don't know what to do and I sure wish God would tell me but he hasn't told me yet, and so, therefore, I might as well enjoy this day he's given me because it is a gift from God".
Do you know that it's okay for you to enjoy life while you have a problem? Come on, that's a revelation to people. It is okay for you to enjoy your life while you have a problem. I think sometimes we think, "Well, you know, I can't enjoy my life, I got this problem. I can't enjoy my life, my kids are doing this or my spouse is not doing that or, you know, blah, blah, blah". But the truth is, you only play into the devil's hands when we let him make us miserable because he's really not after your stuff. He's after your joy. The joy of the Lord is your strength, and so, if he can get us to worry about 9 million different things, and I tell ya something, the minute that you begin to worry, the best thing to do is pray. "Be anxious for nothing but in all things by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God and the peace that passes understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting". That's Philippians 4:6 and 7.
You know I had a situation yesterday came up, something happened and it's something that has happened repeatedly and, you know, you really get tired of that stuff that just it's always the same, always the same, always the same. And you're like, "Okay God, I prayed about this for 25, 30 years. Are we ever gonna see a breakthrough here"? And it's not even something concerning me, it was something that somebody else did. And so I started with the worry, and then I started to get upset, and then I thought I'd follow my own advice. Do you know what would happen in our lives, I mean now most of you working in this ministry, you know enough of the word that if somebody asked you for a word of advice, you could give it, right? How many of you think that if somebody came to you and said, "What do you think I should do"? That you might be able to just give them a little bit of advice? Let's see your hand. Okay, and so all you really have to do when you're in trouble is take your own advice. I mean seriously, I thought about that.
Now what would I tell somebody else if they came to me with this situation? "God's got a plan. If it's taking this long, it's for a purpose. All things work out for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose". I would have quoted them a couple of scriptures just like I just quoted you and I would have thought how wonderful my advice was. But why can we not take our own advice? So, how about when you're in trouble now and you're all upset, how about if every time you're upset... Come on, I'm talking you at home. How about the next time you're upset, when you feel that upset, you just stop for a minute and say, "Now if somebody else came to me with this same problem, what would I tell them"? And then take your own advice.
So, I knew what I'd tell somebody else. "Well, pray about it, see what God says". So, I prayed about it. "Well, God, what are we gonna do in this situation"? And you know exactly what the Lord said to me? "Forget it. Just forget it. You can't change it. It comes and it goes. It may come again, it will go again. Nothing lasts forever. Just forget it, go on and enjoy your day". So, I called someday else that had been kind of the receiver of the same situation and I said, "God just says forget it". See, you're all looking at me like, "Really"? You know why? We want something more complicated. I mean, that's what the Bible says to do when somebody hurts or offends you, forget it. Let go of it. Lose it, lay it down, give up the resentment.
You can keep it if you want to but let me ask a question. Surely, we can get smart enough to stop doing things that are totally useless. It's useless to worry. It's useless to try to do something about something you absolutely cannot do anything about. "Can I do anything about this? Lord, if you got a good idea, just give it to me 'cause I don't have a good idea". If you can't think of anything just say, "Well, God, I guess you know and you're not ready to tell me yet". Go ahead, make the devil mad and say, "I'm gonna go ahead and enjoy my day," 'cause nothing makes him madder than our joy 'cause he's lost all of his and he wants to take all of ours. Doesn't do us any good to worry. Doesn't do us any good to stay mad at people. "So don't worry saying what are we gonna eat? What are we gonna do? What are we gonna wear"? Blah, blah, blah. "For the gentiles and the heathens," now he's talking about unbelievers, "Do that. They wish for and crave and diligently seek all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them".
So here now we're coming to the very end of this chapter, a well, well, well-known verse, Matthew 6:33, "But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all his kingdom and his righteousness (his way of being and doing), and all of these other things will be given you beside". We don't have to worry about things. We serve God and he takes care of the things. "Do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own". Oh, I didn't want to hear that. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble and also the grace that we need for each day comes when the day comes. We don't get to put grace in the bank. Did you hear me? You can't go put grace in the bank. I'd like to have enough grace right now for the whole rest of my life. It's like the manna that came down from heaven, if they tried to gather tomorrow's today, it got rotten.