Amazing Faith – Private Disciplines

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Matthew 6:1-8 “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.

When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do–blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!

Matthew 6:16-18 “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Discipline is a four letter word to most of us, we don’t like being forced to do something that we do not want to do, it doesn’t matter if it is exercise, budget, a diet or learning to play an instrument, we want to do what we want to do.

Sometimes we don’t even like disciplined people, sometimes they are inspiring but a lot of the time they get on our nerves because they seem more motivated than we are, they make us feel bad, so we try to persuade them to be more like us.

Discipline is for our own good and that is even more true of spiritual discipline. Spiritual disciplines are another tool that God uses to help us grow closer to him. Our faith and trust in him will grow as our relationship with him develops, this doesn’t happen by accident, there must be an intentional effort. This is the heart of what it means to be a disciple here at Grace Falls. INTENTIONAL EFFORTS that come from an OVERWHELMING BELIEF in who God is and what He has done for us.

Students are to be like their teacher. – Jesus (The one who INTENTIONALLY CAME TO US – so that we could be reconciled to Him!)

A disciple of Jesus is someone who is learning to be like him, most of that learning isn’t easy, our nature doesn’t naturally want to be like Jesus so we fight against what he wants to teach us. It is a struggle to “not be conformed to this world.” We have to take deliberate action to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Don’t mistake the purpose for private discipline, you are not trying to earn God’s favor by checking off a bunch of good deeds, doing these things does not change the fact that you have been saved by grace alone.

Becoming a better disciple is our goal and it is only by His grace and the gift of His Holy Spirit that we get the opportunity to do that.