You Be You
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Series: “The Gospel Truth”
Text: Matt 6:16-34
Date: Jan. 16, 2022 a.m.
We have become a people without an identity. Instead of being who God created us to be, we have become mimics. We dress, walk, talk, eat and act like other people. Without realizing it we have become clones rather than the individuals whom God created. Someone has said, “If two of us are exactly the same, one of us is not needed.” Why not make 2022 the year of becoming the real you?
1. Your Food (vv 16-18)
Matt 6:16-18 “Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, (tend to your hygiene) so that your fasting isn’t obvious to others but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Notice that Jesus did not say “if” but rather, “whenever”. He assumes that they will fast. Today fasting from food has become trendy primarily for the purpose of weight loss or control. The fasting that Jesus referred to was spiritual fasting which is associated with prayer, sadness, or seeking God’s will in a matter. A spiritual fast should incorporate extended prayer, deep Bible study and meditation and perhaps journaling as God speaks to you. The Scribes and Pharisees fasted at least twice a week, and made a great show of it. They were not particularly seeking to draw nearer to God, but rather wanted to impress people with their piety. Jesus warned against such a display. He instructed His disciples to “maintain their personal appearance so that no one but the Father will know of their fasting.”
In Luke 5:33-34 the scribes and Pharisees questioned Jesus because His disciples did not fast in the same manner that John the Baptist’s disciples did. “Then they said to him, “John’s disciples fast often and say prayers, and those of the Pharisees do the same, but yours eat and drink.” Jesus said to them, “You can’t make the wedding guests fast while the groom is with them, can you?” Rather than try to educate them on what true fasting was, Jesus just gave a simple answer that addressed the outward appearance rather than true fasting.
Earlier Jesus had addressed prayer using some of the same instructions in Matt 6:5-8 “Whenever you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, because they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. But when you pray, go into your private room, shut your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble like the Gentiles, since they imagine they’ll be heard for their many words. Don’t be like them, because your Father knows the things you need before you ask him.”
The bottom line is that your spiritual disciplines should primarily be between you and God. That does not negate corporate worship, but if that is all you do, you will never grow spiritually.
There is sometimes a need for corporate fasting. Several churches in our county do a 21 day fast at the beginning of each year. Usually those fasts include more that just food. Some fast from TV. Others fast from some hobbies that occupy a lot of their time. The time that they would normally spend with these activities should be allocated to prayer, Bible study and meditation. The group focus might be something like spiritual renewal or revival.
2. Your Stuff (vv 19-24)
Matt 6:19-21 “Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Jesus is not saying that earthly possessions are bad. He is saying don’t let your possessions possess you. Some people are so attached to their earthly possessions (houses, boats, cars, money, etc) that they actually become idols (where your heart is also). However, anything on the earth can be corroded or stolen. That which you desire can be desired by someone else who might steal it. It is possible to use earthly wealth for heavenly purposes, in which case having those possessions are good.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light within you is darkness, how deep is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
In this passage light and dark are used as metaphors for a person’s spiritual condition. From a physical standpoint a person who is blind lives in total darkness. If their sight is restored, there will be light throughout their body. However, light comes from God…He created it (Gen 1:3 “Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”) He also IS light (Ps 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom should I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— whom should I dread?”) and He can turn darkness into light (Is 42:16 “I will lead the blind by a way they did not know; I will guide them on paths they have not known. I will turn darkness to light in front of them and rough places into level ground. This is what I will do for them, and I will not abandon them.”
All of us were born into spiritual darkness, but no one needs to dwell in spiritual darkness. When a person receives Christ into his or her life, they are then full of light. Being full of light means that you have discernment and can determine right from wrong. Then you would know that preoccupation with making, saving and hoarding money is idolatry. John D. Rockefeller was asked, “How much money is enough?” He replied, “Just a little bit more.” The problem is not money, but rather the pursuit of money which pushes God into the background.
3. Your Mindset (vv 25-34)
Matt 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? Consider the birds of the sky: They don’t sow or reap or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Can any of you add one moment to his life span by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? Observe how the wildflowers of the field grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these. If that’s how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and thrown into the furnace tomorrow, won’t he do much more for you—you of little faith? So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
We live in a world of worry. People worry about their finances, their health, their job, their relationships and you name it. Sometimes if they don’t have anything to worry about, they worry about the fact that they have no worries. Living in a “worry mind-set” is debilitating. It freezes you in the present and keeps you from progressing. I had a student in my ministry who was the daughter of another staff member at our church. She had professed faith in Christ as a child, been baptized, and was very involved in the church. However, she worried that maybe she wasn’t really saved. She would say things like, “What if I didn’t say the prayer right?” or “I just don’t feel like I’m saved.” Her constant worry kept her from growing in her faith. I have a sense that she is not alone. Many people in the church today are paralyzed by worry. Jesus gave the antidote to worry for the believer in vs 33 which many of you have memorized. The problem is that we don’t know how to apply this to our lives. Perhaps it is too simple for us to believe we are really doing it. Seeking first the kingdom of heaven, according to John McArthur, is seeking salvation, and recognizing that with it comes the full care and provision of God. When Jesus responded to some Pharisees who asked when the kingdom of God would come, He said in Luke 17:20-21 “When he was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with something observable; no one will say, ‘See here!’ or ‘There!’ For you see, the kingdom of God is in your midst.” He was speaking of Himself. Jesus embodied the Kingdom of God on earth. When He was on earth, so was the Kingdom of God. Anyone who has received Christ as LORD, has the kingdom dwelling in them because Christ dwells in them and in Him is the Kingdom of God.
The righteousness of God is part and parcel of salvation. The prophet Isaiah wrote in Isa 61:10 “I rejoice greatly in the Lord, I exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness, as a groom wears a turban and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
When you experience doubts, because of sin in your life, the Apostle John gives you the way to restore righteousness in your life in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Application: (How will I apply this message to my life?)
You become the REAL you by surrendering your life to Christ. If you have never done that, you are only an empty shell. Blaise Pascal, French Physicist once said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.” In other words, you were created with the capacity to house the Kingdom of God in the person of Jesus Christ, His Son.
If you have surrendered to Christ, but have unconfessed sin in your life, the Kingdom has not left you, but has merely moved aside and allowed you to be your own god. That is remedied by confession and repentance as we read earlier in 1 John 1:9.