Lowell Stidolph - [Matthew 6 (Secret Life)]

Why did Jesus speak about the public life before the private life?

It comes clearly in that verse in Matthew 5; first make matters right with your brother before you go and worship God. We cannot enter into the mercy seat and have liberty with our Father when we have not made matters right with a brother or sister.

Matthew 6 (Secret Life)

v1... Take HEED that ye do NOT your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father in heaven. So we all like to sound the trumpet and tell other people how wonderful we are, isn't it? What we have done must be noticed by men so that they can think we are wonderful... but that cancels our reward. When we do something good with the motive of lifting ourselves up one day, we are glorifying ourselves and not our creator. We are just like the Pharisees. What Jesus also told those people when he told them that they never visited him when He was in prison, sick, etc,... they seemed to be doing something, but to the wrong people. The good that the Spirit wants us to do wont get us on the front page of the local newspaper, but it quietly leads us to go and be a help to someone in our little church who cannot return the favour.

There are so many places of usefulness that surround us, visiting the old folks and taking them to the meetings, been there for the sick... why do we avoid that? Because they talk too long in the meeting, because we don't feel at home with them, because of an age difference? Maybe the love we are trying to love people with is the limited edition of our love, not the Love of God, because it enables us to love all in spite of their ages or background.

v5....Now after Jesus says, do your alms in the secret, he starts talking about the prayer life. Its amazing how simple these verses are and yet so much repetition and long prayers in the meetings sometimes. Jesus said the long prayers should be in the secret. Do we feel obligated to pray a long and frilly prayer in the meeting? Jesus compares this to the hypocrites and the Pharisees. In Matt 5 he said that our righteousness should exceed theirs.

v6... Enter into thy closet and shut the door. Its easier for us to close our rooms door than the doors of our hearts from all the things of time. The door to our hearts sometimes is like a worldly market place open 24 hours... Lots of time for the world and cares of life, but never making contact in the quiet place. This is what robs us the most in this and the next lifetime, when we make no contact with the throne. People will spend a lot on their security here in Africa, to keep a thief out, but wont spend even a minute to become quiet and keep the enemy of their souls out. He is robbing us of our eternal treasure more which has far more worth than all the collectables we are loaned in this lifetime.

v7... Listen to the prayer when you pray for your food (if you do) and the little rhyme has become a little recitation, no feeling, no emotion, we are not a soul calling out to our Father, but a parrot! And that prayer we pray at the table is no different to the one we pray in the room. I have often caught myself praying the same words as I used to when I was a young child, not even thinking... It made me realise that my prayers are as dead as my service to him. Come on, we are serving a living God not an idol. Been long on our knees does not mean that we should do all the talking. Jesus said WATCH and pray, listen and pray, answer his prayers and yours He will gladly answer. Sometimes we expect God to do a 100 things for us, and he only asks us one, yet we want to go down and make terms and conditions... If you will do ..... then I will ..... Do we pray for our will or His?

v8... Our Father knows the things we need, do we? Yes, we know what we WANT, what we DESIRE, but what do we need? Patience, faith... the children of God don't pray for the things of time as much as they pray for spiritual virtues which they might be lacking. Jesus said seek FIRST the Kingdom of heaven and its righteousness and ALL these things shall be added unto you. He know what we need before we ask, isn't that amazing? Lets talk more serious, lets talk about things pertaining to life eternal.

pray after this manner, very important to realise that there is A manner of which we should pray. Jesus ALWAYS prayed OUR FATHER, or FATHER, and here he tells us to do the same. Because we are children of the Father, we call him Father, he is not anymore a distant God out of reach. We have all these privileges through Jesus life and sacrifice. Here are very important principles, you can call it doctrine,so you can despise me with whatever I say, I can accept that, but don't despise the words of Jesus Christ, they are serious. Why is it so important to listen to the way Jesus prayed? Its because its the only way we will get our thoughts off the ground and on eternal life. Many people pray to the God of heaven, but its just for their own benefit, for earthly gain. Most people never pray Thy Will Be Done, but MY WILL BE DONE, HERES THE LIST, I AND HERES THE DATE I WOULD LIKE IT DONE... And when our Father does not do what we ask Him, we do it ourselves!

The Lords Prayer:

We don't want to pray this prayer as a repetition and forget the depth of each sentence. These were the principles whereby Jesus could always keep close to His Father and they are worth considering in the light of eternity. After Jesus starts this prayer, he mentions 3 things that get His thoughts off of this earth....HALLOWED BE THY NAME, THY WILL be done..... THY KINGDOM COME.... Where do we start our prayers, on EARTH, and we move around in the dust, we just cannot get in touch with heaven this way, its very important that we get quiet and get to the throne of grace. Its not so much about talking, but listening, hearing the voice of God.

Give us today our daily bread... Jesus is the bread of life,... We need to feed off of Him, His real example. Its what enables us to be fed, have life and be well-pleasing in the Fathers eyes. Its because people ignore the words of Jesus that they don't have the liberty to say our FATHER, but rather 'our God' or 'Dear Lord'... we don't pray TO Jesus either, we pray THROUGH Him.

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. We do we still pray forgive us our sins... and nothing else? Its an incomplete sentence. We don't get forgiveness until we forgive our brother, that is why Matt5 was mentioned before Matt6. We only get the measure of forgiveness that we share with one another. It does not matter how offended I am, as long as I am going to forgive you and free you. Oh, poor little me, I think to myself sometimes, I also have rights, they should treat me with more respect. Today one of the friends dogs bit me, I had to forgive the dog or else the relationship between me and these friends will not stay right. It sounds funny, but there is more than meets the eye with forgiveness, and if it doesn't make sense to you that's ok. There are NO human rights in Gods way. The only right we have is the right to treat our brother and sister right!

Friends, besides having earthbound thoughts restricting us from making contact with heaven, this matter of unforgiveness will not just close heaven for us when we pray, but a saved eternity too. This is very, very serious, we cannot allow this to go on and bitterness to set in. Jesus came to free and release us from destroying ourselves why cant we release one another too?

v13 And lead us not into temptation.... Now are you tempted to cheat on your wife and husband, or tempted to leave them, for the sake of your own selfish happiness? Yes, I don't know your story, but Jesus can say he does. Jesus knows your pain, he knows your sorrow, he understands, but He also is pleading with you to do the RIGHT thing, not the worlds PLAN B, but He can show you a miracle only if you are prepared to deny yourself and wait.... I have seen EVERY prayer of mine answered in miraculous ways not because I had the words, but because of Jesus been there! Why don't we pray lead us not into temptation? Because we don't want to, and why not,... because temptation makes the flesh feel real good, and why would we miss out on the fun (at someone else's expense!) I like what James says (James 1:12-15) BLESSED is the man that ENDURETH temptation (and does not brag about it) for when he is tried, he SHALL receive the crown of LIFE, which the Lord has promised to them that love Him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man. But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then when lust conceiveth, it bringeht forth sin, and when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Before I go on, a thought that is very clear to me, is honesty in prayer. We need to be honest with our Father, tell him what we are struggling with, tell Him we need His strength to overcome. We all appreciate honesty one with another and when we are honest, Jesus can and WILL help us, but if we are not opening our hearts to Him, He will also hold back. Those words often come to me that Jesus said... Let it be according to thy faith. We need to tell our Father we trust Him,... its very important. If you ask someone a favour but in the same breathe you tell them, you are not sure if you can trust them or if they will be able to do your request, they will not feel like doing it either. Honesty!

For thine is the Kingdom. We need to remember this, that this is our Fathers Kingdom and not ours. We need to remember that He is in control, He knows what He is doing in this world and in the lives of others. Sometimes we can be just like religious people wanting people and governments to change, but this is not our business, its our Fathers business. Jesus never ever made a political statement, never went into politics, neither should we. Paul said we need to pray for our governments, do you? Isn't it nice to have freedom of worship where you live? Have you ever been in a country where there isn't that privilege?

And in this Kingdom, often, the power is on our side and in our hands, but we need to take heed like Jesus said to His disciples,.. Ye know not of what spirit ye are! We have to be careful not to abuse that power that is on our side. God has given us all a place, do we fill it quietly? Let Jesus have all the glory for every good deed, for every victory we have because its through Him that we can be winners! Gods people are not losers, don't let anyone tell you that, not even those horrible thoughts.Jesus uses us to make himself great, to glorify His name. He was lifted up because He lifted up the one who sent Him and not Himself. Our job as Workers is to lift up Jesus Christ to mankind, not ourselves.

v14-15 Again after Jesus talks about the prayer, he speaks again about forgiveness. Forgiveness is one of the lowest forms of love, its a must, its a commandment. But when we love one another with the love of God, we wont have to worry about forgiveness BECAUSE we wont be easily offended by anything. The ones that stayed by Jesus side were not offended by Him or anyone. If someone says something you don't like, don't hesitate to tell them you love them and smile broadly! Jesus attitude while in terrible pain: Father forgive them for they don't know what they are doing! Unforgiveness cripples us with bitterness. It places a burden on our shoulders that we cannot even carry. When people say I have had enough, its mostly because they have not left these burdens at Jesus feet, forgiven their brother and sister and moved on. If that's you, move on! Jesus wants you to stand up and walk! Stop walking backwards,... look to the light, look up see the LOVE of Christ!

v16 Fasting... This is an interesting subject. I have been 26 days without food, only liquid. Its in the beginning you feel its tough, but as you go on, you feel very healthy! Whatever we do right, we must not let everyone know that we are suffering for it. Sometimes we rather not do the right thing because we might stand out and others might criticize. Sometimes people tell us how difficult it is to serve God,.. but its not true, what they find difficult is to try and serve God in their own strength. Jesus has promised us peace, the comforter, power (2 Tim 1:7) and what do we say? I'm lonely, I'm scared?

v19 Laying up of treasures... This is not keeping up with the Jones', the talk of the day is materialism, houses .. alterations, cars.... new ones, their features,... Or are we talking about the alarms, security, high fences to guard our stuff.... yes, this might all be important in our day and age, but if this is where our treasure is, then all our prayers will be is about safety of the body and possessions? Isn't it nice to know that in the New Heaven there will be a place prepared for all of us who have their hearts over there! Someone said Money is the root of all evil,... that's incorrect, its the LOVE of money? Where is my love? Is it rather the love of spending, one of the worst diseases in modern civilisation.

v22.. The light of the body is the eye... how true, you can see in peoples eyes what they are feeling... If we see evil in a brother, its because we have plenty of that in our hearts. remove the Log in our own eyes.

v24... No man can serve two masters... When we praying, are we praying to mammon to provide all our needs or are we thinking and praying for the Kingdom first? There is a need in the Kingdom, Jesus said to pray for labourers. One of the greatest blessing a parent can pray for is for their children to go into the harvest field. Not all have that opportunity, but lets throw ourselves into the conflict rather and make clear to others who our Master is.

v25 Take no thought for your life.... So often our conversations go about our human bodies, its safety... etc, We are scared to move to help someone, and we can find plenty of reasonable excuses to save our lives. Jesus said that we will lose our lives if we try and save it. Everyone is preaching to save our own lives these days, but it just takes away from our reward, our treasure. Paul had the attitude, if I need to die today for the sake of my Saviour, let me die, but there is nothing holding me back from getting out of my comfort zone. Paths of usefulness and fruitfulness surround us, but do we turn a blind eye. V32... After these things seek the Gentiles... the world is not seeking the invisible, but the visible. The visible will be burnt up one day. Keep our eyes on Jesus and his teachings.

v33 Seek ye first the kingdom of God... especially in our prayers, when we pray for the kingdom, our prayers reach the throne, we feel peace, we see others in our minds eye, we forget ourselves, we get peace. Unselfish prayers. Live for others every moment,.. and all these things shall be added unto you? Do we believe that, if not, it shows.

v34 Take no thought for tomorrow. God our Father lives in the present, and so must we. We live in the present, and this is the time that God wants to tell us through the guidance of the Spirit how we should be acting NOW. Every present action, word and deed is important, .. I often think about something exciting tomorrow because today often is not exciting, and I miss the peace and blessings of now because I am not putting my energy into the present moment.

As usual, you are welcome to give me feedback, this is not complete by any means, and even though many times we don't know what or how to pray, we don't need to... we can just be on our knees and the spirit will intercede for us. Jesus gives us clear guidelines of HOW TO pray and what to pray for and repeated a few things because we hear but don't absorb what He says. There are many verses later in the scripture of prayer and truly this has been a source of power,.. when I have given up my own for His!