***Help Old School TODAY to continue our critical work promoting natural health, success, and freedom. Please DONATE NOW! Thank you!***
“Enter ye in at the straight gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and very few there be that find it.”Matthew 7:13 (King James Bible)
My wife has a big red King James Bible. It replaced the one her devout mother gave her long ago–that had fallen apart from much use.
Yesterday morning she told me that she’d read from the book of Matthew, chapters 6 and 7, and that it had “everything we need to know” in it. “Matthew”–for those of you who may not be aware–is one of the four “Gospels” (the chronicle of Jesus ministry on earth).
Jesus’ words (typed in red in old Bibles) make up the vast majority of Matthew 6 and 7.
So my son and I re-read these chapters, and we all discussed what we were reading. My son had a couple of interesting comments related to some of the content (which I’ll get to). For me, it hit me how radical Jesus’ teachings must have been at the time, and how radical they still are today–even for Christians!
The central tenant of Christianity is forgiveness, as it is the key to being forgiven and finding a new life.
Chapter 6, verses 14 and 15 say, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
So simple. And yet, so hard for many of us.
I can almost close the lesson here. But there’s much more.
Prayer and Fasting
Jesus talks about fasting next, which reminds me that later in the book of Matthew (chapter 17, verse 9), his apostles ask him why they were not able to cast the devil out of a man. Jesus replied that it was because of their unbelief. But that this kind (of demon) only goes out by prayer and fasting.
That has always stuck with me.
I must admit that I’ve never been much of a “faster,” but as I get older, and physical health issues creep in more (which affects the quality of my prayer life, and my mental and physical state as well), I am seeing more and more the importance of sound diet and exercise, and likely the need to bring some form of fasting into my life.
God, Money, and Worry
Jesus begins to talk about the concept of our attachment to things, including money, in Matthew 6:19. Here, he discusses how we like to store up valuables.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.“Matthew 6: 19-21
This one had an immediate effect on my wife. It hit all of us, actually. It’s so foreign to the way almost all of us act, even most who call ourselves “Christians.”
I began to think about how the world presents us with two false choices in many cases–in this case, godless capitalism, which has brought us greed and soulless corporations… And communism, which represents jealousy against those who have been diligent.
My son had an interesting insight regarding this: He said that both communism and capitalism lead to slavery: In communism, the leaders want to make us their slave; and in capitalism, people (often) become slaves of money.
I recalled that my former minister got on a kick about how “God’s people” should be rich.” That when we put God first, all things will be added. That includes money (and presumably, a lot of it, or so goes that thinking).
However, my son pointed out that the text in the King James Bible does not say that, that instead, Jesus spoke about us needing food and clothing (i.e.: essentials). And he said that, “Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all THESE things.”
Jesus said we have need for the essentials of life, not for riches!
The apostle Paul also spoke of God providing for our needs.
Remember, Jesus himself warned how difficult it is for the rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
In the New Testament church, those who had–willingly shared with those who had not. Contrast that to the way most Christians live today.
This all ties into worry too. If your heart is in the right place, then you will not fret over material things, or the cares of this world.
“Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, not gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you, by taking thought, can add one cubit unto his stature?”Matthew 6:26-27
“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”Matthew 6:34
“Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”Matthew 7:5
Jesus’s words have a way of making us stop and take inventory! They give us pause for self-reflection in our desire to “seek justice.” Everybody “–in our “fallen” condition–seeks “justice” to remedy the injustice done to us. I believe it takes God’s wisdom and guidance to separate true justice from revenge.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened.”Matthew 7:7
To ask is so simple, yet how often do we not ask, or ask just for superficial things?
The last part of this statement is interesting. Opening a door is implied here. And what is a door but an opportunity, or some truth that was previously blocked to us?
Reading the Bible, I’ve been struck lately by how often Jesus and his apostles implored us to beware of false prophets, “which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.” Jesus goes on to say…
“Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then I will profess unto them, ‘I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.'”Matthew 7:22-23
I’ve written enough about false prophets, and don’t need to add anything here. Suffice it to say that where there is ego, there is a break from God. Beware.
Build your house on ROCK!
Jesus ends his talk here, with an admonition to hear and DO!
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.“Matthew 7:24-27
The people who heard Jesus were amazed, because he spoke “as one having authority, and not as the scribes.”
Yet how many of those that heard Jesus actually put his words into practice? Likely just a few, as he predicted. That has not changed to this day.
Even among “Christians.”
That used to discourage me, as I believed that I could not make it into the “few” category. Now I know that nobody can make it into that category unless God blesses us to be there. All I know how to do is ask: ask Him to take away my judgment and anger, so that I can be one with Him in love.
My son made a good point this morning regarding this: We have to want to overcome our faults to be helped.
I have asked, and if at times it seems like a really slow process, I can see that He is helping me find his “place of rest.” I am thankful for what He has given to me and to my family, and I hope that we are found worthy to be part of His family, and His kingdom.
I wish that for all of you who seek the same.
Patrick Rooney is the Founder of OldSchoolUs.com. He communicates clearly and fearlessly during perilous times about natural health, success, and freedom. To reach Patrick, email him at [email protected].
To Support the critical work of Old School, go HERE.