Be. Become. Do. - Day 04

Day 04 - Thursday, September 14th
Read Matthew 6

Verse 1 sets up the first half of the chapter.  This is a principle that unites the next three examples that Jesus gives.  A Jewish audience would have thought of specific behaviors when Jesus said “acts of righteousness,” and the first three things that would come to mind are almsgiving, prayer, and fasting.  These are exactly the next three things that Jesus addresses, and the structure of his teaching is the same for all three.  But in the first verse, Jesus tells us the fundamental idea that we must remember - our motivation matters.  Doing what is good must be a response to the love and goodness of our Father, not in order to receive the praise of others.

The structure is the same - First, a warning not to do the act in order to receive praise from others.  Second, a guarantee that if you ignore this warning you’ll get exactly what you are looking for and nothing more.  Third, instruction on how to do the same ‘act of righteousness’ in secret.  And finally, an assurance that your Heavenly Father will both see you and reward you.  

Reflection & Prayer
For this reading plan we will be using a tool to guide our study of Scripture that’s called the S.O.A.P. Method.  It stands for Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer.  We recommend you use a journal with this method and write out your thoughts on each of these areas for each day of reading.  It doesn’t have to be long-winded and you don’t need a fancy journal.  But for anyone that has not journaled before, the benefit is that it often helps us focus and avoid distractions during prayer and Bible study.

S.O.A.P. Method

Scripture - Pick a verse or two that stood out to you and write it in your journal.  Be looking for a “Holy Spirit Highlight.”  What did you read and think “I needed to hear that” or felt like it was written just for you?

Observation - Now write some observations about the verse(s) or passage. What is this passage or verse saying? About God? About people? How is Jesus revealed in these verses? 

Application - Now write a few sentences on how this passage applies to your life. Is there truth about God that you are to believe? A promise to receive? Is the Holy Spirit convicting you of something you need to do or stop doing in light of God’s truth? 

Prayer - Now write out a prayer to God in response to this Scripture. This is a way to turn God’s Word to you back to Him. Be honest and express your heart to Him. God always listens and He delights in your prayers. (Psalm 34:15; Proverbs 15:8)
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