Lord, I want to pursue the deeper life in You. Help me to give up those things that will hinder that pursuit.
Read Matthew 6:16-34
 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,  so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!  “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectAre our appetites for food and "stuff" surrendered to Jesus?
Jesus continues to challenge us with his teaching about the good life. After secret “giving” and secret “praying,” he talks about secret “fasting” (16-18). He assumes that his followers will go without food or sleep at times in order to focus on prayer. But this is to be a hidden activity, centered only on God, and quite different from a New Year diet! Bit by bit, Jesus is outlining a life which is in orbit around God. The only possible explanation of a generous spirit, cheerful and contented, is that we have a single priority in our lives: to know God’s love and to do God’s will. The great enemy of our Christian well-being is greed. Jesus calls it “Mammon”–the god of materialism, money and gain. As with every other aspect of our behavior, Jesus makes us responsible for the choices we make. Why does money hold such an attraction for us (1 Tim. 6:10) and why does Jesus see it as a dangerous rival to the living God?
Offer a secret “fast” (from television or social media sites, for example) so that you can focus on what God wants.
Lord, may the way I use my money, time and talents express that You are the priority of my life.
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