We tend to treat each segment of this passage as three disconnected ideas:
- God will answer your prayers (vv.7-8)
- God is a generous and loving Father (vv.9-11)
- Treat others like you want to be treated (v.12)
When in reality, all three of these concepts are critically interdependent:
- When we understand that God is a generous Father (vv.9-11)
- Then we’ll respond by treating others with that same compassion he demonstrates toward us (v.12)
- And our lives will become conduits of his grace and mercy, satisfying the deepest yearnings of our hearts (vv.7-8)
The first way of looking at these verses Continue reading “The Pinnacle (and Main Point) of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:7-12)”
Jesus then describes how the minds and hearts of Kingdom-Seekers will be transformed. He is calling us to be:
When Jesus commands us not to judge, he’s not talking about using good judgment. Rather, he’s pointing out our tendency to criticize and condemn others. When we act as judge, jury and executioner, we lose sight of our own responsibility and reprehensibility.
Jesus warns us that we’ll most assuredly be judged with the same severity—or mercy—by which we judge Continue reading “Three Characteristics of a Kingdom-Seeker (Matthew 7:1-6)”
What’s so bad about a little anxiety? After all, it can increase productivity. On the other hand, worry can paralyze us. At the end of the day, it’s a no-win scenario.
Worry can be clinically addictive. Either what we worry about actually happens, confirming our fears and causing us to catastrophize even more next time. Or, our fears don’t materialize and our brain convinces us that worrying prevents bad things from happening. So, the more we worry, the better we think it’ll be.
In this passage, Jesus exposes the utter folly of worry.
Caring is not the same as worry. Stewardship is not the same as worry. Faith is not Continue reading “The Utter Folly of Worry (Matthew 6:25-34)”
Our lives are full of quests and questions:
- Identity (Who am I?)
- Significance (What gives my life meaning?)
- Intimacy (How can I been truly known and accepted?)
- Security (How can I be protected from harm?)
- Eternity (What happens when I die?)
Whatever answers these questions becomes the driving force of our lives.
So often, we find our identity, significance and security in money and material possessions. Wealth can attract friends and purchase physical intimacy. Continue reading “Treasure Hunting (Matthew 6:19-24)”
Imagine that you walk into a room full of people and say something as innocuous as “My, what beautiful blue carpet.”
To your surprise, someone responds, “Where I come from, they call this color red, not blue. In the interest of diversity, I request that you respect my position.”
Hearing this, a man in a white lab coat replies, “You know, colors aren’t real—they’re just perceptions in the brain formed by electrical impulses from the optic nerve. Who’s to say if the carpet has any color at all.”
A woman holding a white cane then says, “I’ve been blind since birth and Continue reading “What Color Is the Carpet?”