Matthew 6:31-32 says, Don’t worry and say, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ That’s what those people who don’t know God are always thinking about. Don’t worry, because your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things.
He actually starts talking about worry at verse 25 but these two verses provide a nice summary. Worrying about a situation does not affect the outcome. For example, worrying about where your next meal is going to come from will not magically put food on the table. I can tell you for a fact though, that praying about your needs is much more effective. Worry undermines your faith and trust in God. Worry wastes a lot of energy and can negatively impact your physical health - it can lead to headaches, muscle tension and an upset stomach.
Jesus reminds us that God already knows what you need so trust in him to provide it. He gave two examples of God's provision:
Verse 33 of Matthew 6 says, What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what he wants you to do. Then he will give you all these other things you need. When you find yourself worrying about something, do something for someone else - smile at them, help them carry their groceries, talk to someone, give someone a compliment, share something you have. By loving people and being kind you are doing what he wants you to do.
Matthew 6:19-20 says, Don’t store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead, store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. Verse 19 warns us that earthly treasures don't last - your fancy clothes might get eaten by moths, your expensive car might rust or they may be stolen. There is nothing wrong with earthly treasures, but there's a but (three actually).
Verse 20 instructs us to store up treasures in heaven instead. So, how do you do that?
What kind of treasure are you storing up?
It's Easter tomorrow so I thought we would jump ahead to Matthew 26, just before Jesus was crucified. He went to Gesthemane to pray and took Peter, James and John with him. He told his companions to sit and watch while he moved away and prayed. Jesus said, my heart is so heavy with grief, I feel as if I am dying. In the Evangelical Heritage Version it says, My soul is very sorrowful, even to the point of death. The New International Version says, My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.
I think we gloss over the horrors of what Jesus endured on the cross because it makes us uncomfortable. It was, after all, our sin that put him there. We can't even imagine the physical, emotional and spiritual torture that he endured.
Some versions of this verse say, 'lead us not into temptation.' The original Greek word for temptation can also be translated trials. It could refer to either temptations or difficult situations. Jesus prayed that God would save him from the trial of being hung on a cross if it was possible.
James 1:13 says, Don’t blame God when you are tempted! God cannot be tempted by evil, and he doesn’t use evil to tempt others.
James 1:2-3 says, Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
These verses in James also use the same Greek word, which translates and temptation and trial, as in Matthew 6. Regardless of whether these verses are referring to being tempted by sin or tried by difficult circumstances, the fact remains that God doesn't test or tempt us, that's just part of living in a fallen world. When we are tempted and tested it tests our faith and helps us to persevere.
The second part of the verse is a request to be delivered from the Evil One, his temptations, power and influence.
Matthew 5:38-39 says, You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, don’t fight back against someone who wants to do harm to you. If they hit you on the right cheek, let them hit the other cheek too.
In the Old Testament, the law stated that if you knocked out someone's tooth, one of yours would be knocked out as punishment. The moral behind this was that the punishment matched the crime. Jesus commanded us that if someone slaps you on the right cheek, to turn the left cheek to them also. This may seem bizarre but the principle is that we should not seek revenge. Peace and forgiveness should be our objectives. A slap on the face doesn't usually cause much serious damage but it is a source of shame. It's human nature to want revenge when someone hurts us, whether physically or our feelings.
Dear friends, don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says, “I am the one to take revenge and pay them back.” The Scriptures also say, “If your enemies are hungry, give them something to eat. And if they are thirsty, give them something to drink. This will be the same as piling burning coals on their heads.”
As Christians, we are not only commanded to not seek revenge, but we are commanded to love our enemies and care for them. That is totally opposite to what the world says. Next time you're tempted to seek revenge, seek peace instead.
Jesus taught us to ask for forgiveness but he reminded us that we have to forgive others too. The Bible makes it very clear that forgiving others is a prerequisite for receiving forgiveness. Matthew 6:14-15 says, If you forgive others for the wrongs they do to you, your Father in heaven will forgive you. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. These verses are very clear. YOU MUST FORGIVE OTHERS IF YOU WANT GOD TO FORGIVE YOU.
We live in a cancel culture where if you offend or upset someone, you're cancelled out. Here are some more verses from the Bible about forgiveness:
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, when someone won’t stop doing wrong to me, how many times must I forgive them? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, you must forgive them more than seven times. You must continue to forgive them even if they do wrong to you seventy-seven times.
Forgive each other the same as God forgave you through Christ.
Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other.
God has generously forgiven us when we didn't deserve it and we should generously forgive others when they don't deserve it.
Jesus said to pray for the food you will eat, or your daily bread as some versions say, which probably refers to everything we need to survive - food, shelter, clothing, water... When Jesus taught this, people were paid day by day for the work they did that day. There was no sick leave, worker's compensation or holidays. If you didn't work that day, you probably didn't eat that day.
We are told to pray about these things but also, not to worry about them. Matthew 6:25-26 says, Don’t worry about the things you need to live—what you will eat, drink, or wear. Life is more important than food, and the body is more important than what you put on it. Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or save food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. Don’t you know you are worth much more than they are? God looks after the birds and you're much more important than them, so how much more will he look after you!
Psalm 16:5 says, Lord, you give me all that I need.
Psalm 145:16 You open your hands and give every living thing all that it needs.
God cares about our needs and invites us to pray about them.
Matthew 5:27-28 says,
You have heard that it was said, ‘You must not be guilty of adultery.’ But I tell you that if anyone looks at a woman with lust, he has already committed adultery with her in his mind.
Verse 28 could equally read, if anyone looks at a man with lust, she has already committed adultery with him in her mind. Popular culture encourages lust - there are half dressed or barely dressed people in advertisements, suggestive photos regularly posted on social media, sharing of nude photos, clothing that barely covers boobs and bums, literature and movies that are soft porn, not to mention the hard core porn that is readily available.
Jesus said that thinking about having sex with someone is the same as actually having sex with them. It's not sinful to have sexual thoughts but it is if you entertain them. God's not against sex - he invented it. But he gave us a set of instructions on how to use it (in the context of marriage) so that we don't get hurt. It's a bit like a chainsaw - it was designed for a purpose and to be used a certain way. If you don't adhere to the manufacturer's instructions, you could get hurt, or hurt someone else. He didn't give us these instructions to be the fun police and make our lives difficult or miserable, but to live full, happy lives as he intended.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its taste, it cannot be made salty again. Salt is useless if it loses its salty taste. It will be thrown out where people will just walk on it.
Salt preserves food - it stops it from rotting. This was particularly important in Jesus' time because they didn't have refrigerators - obviously. Christians help preserve lives by telling people about Jesus.
Salt also adds flavour to food. R.T. France said, Disciples, if they are true to their calling, make the earth a purer and more palatable place. He is basically saying that we make the planet a nicer place by bringing the love of Jesus to our communities.
If you're not living like and loving like Jesus, you're not really doing what God intended you to do. Have you been the salt of the earth this week, or are you just sand?
We pray that your kingdom will come — that what you want will be done here on earth, the same as in heaven.
When he said, we pray that your kingdom will come, Jesus was praying:
Then he prayed that God's will would be done, what he wants will be done on earth, just like it is in heaven. We spend most of our lives trying to do and get what we want, but being a Christian means pursuing and chasing after what God wants instead. In Psalm 40:8 David said, I desire to do your will, my God. When you become a Christian, God gives you new desires - to love and please him. However, what you feed grows, so if you feed the human nature, you will be led by those desires. If you feed the spirit, God will give you a desire to do his will. You feed the spirit you read and study God's word, memorise scripture, pray, fast...
Psalm 37:4 says, Do what the Lord wants, and he will give you your heart’s desire. That doesn't mean that if you do what God wants he will give you a brand new car or new phone you want. If you do what God wants, he will give you what you want if it lines up with his will.
CHALLENGE: Pray that God would give you a desire to do his will.
Short and sweet inspirations for Christian teen girls.