PAY ATTENTION TO THE WORDS OF THE MASTER
As He comes to the last part of this great Sermon, Jesus becomes very personal in His admonitions for living the life God wants us to live. First He is very insistent that our acts of personal worship be kept private and just between ourselves and the Father. He includes personal prayer, fasting and giving in this category. It is significant that when Jesus was on earth He always “went apart” when He was going to pray to the Father. Even when He took some of His closest disciples with Him, He left them to wait and went privately to pray to the Father. At one point Jesus is so insistent on this that He recommends that we get into a closet and shut the door. It is obvious that Jesus wants us to realize that in prayer we have a very close and personal relationship with the Father and that we should never violate this personal, individual closeness. If only we would realize that the God and Creator of the Universe is willing to listen to us personally and attend our prayers as if we were the only person in the world. What an incredible privilege He offers us, and we should cherish it and keep it as a personal talk with our Father.
At this point Jesus has worked in another important theme. He warns us not to lay up treasure here on earth in this temporary existence, but to be diligent in laying up treasures in Heaven which is eternal. In this connection He not only mentions the love of money but also our “worry” about all things physical. The entire Sermon on the Mount centers on making us realize that it is the Spiritual man that God wants in His Kingdom and that He wants man to be concerned about. All things that have to do with the physical man, including possessions, ego satisfaction, power, etc., He wants man to eliminate from his concerns.
When Jesus says not to worry about what we shall wear or what we shall eat or drink, He is not saying that God will furnish us those things but that He will give us the ability and means to get them. His point is that our concern should never be on the physical but only and always on the development of the spiritual man in the image of God. It would be well for each of us to take a moment to think on how much of our time is spent seeking and acquiring physical things which we consider to be necessities. However, how much time do we take out of our busy day to consider how many of the spiritual qualities of The Father we are trying to incorporate into our personality or practice as a part of our daily activities?
The fact that Jesus spends so much time at the close of His Sermon on these things should demand of us that we spend much time trying to carefully understand what He is saying and why He is saying it. It is both obvious and unfortunate that these principles are given too little serious thought by the average individual who considers Christianity a matter of doing the rules and rituals, when Jesus is trying to tell us that Christianity is not a matter of doing but of BEING!