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Spirituality- Part 2

Sebastien Braxton

Presenter

Sebastien Braxton is the CEO for The New Life corporation.  He is also a member of the InVerse team, a young adult bible study program on Hope Channel.  He resides in North Carolina w/ his wife Candis and their four children.   His latest project is an online course on how to study and preach the Bible.

Conference

Recorded

  • May 17, 2015
    7:00 AM
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Matthew chapter six we want to talk about the concept of spirituality according to Christ. And then we'll talk about how that spirituality grows and is nurtured. So anyway Matthew 6:1 the Bible says, “Take heed that you do not your charitable deeds before men do not do your charitable deeds before meant to be seen by them otherwise you have no reward from your Father Heaven therefore when you do a charitable deed do not sound the trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory for men. Assuredly I say to you they have their own but when you do a charitable deed do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing that your charitable deed may be in secret and your Father who sees in secret will himself reward you openly.”

So just to break this down because he's going to repeat this pattern again when he talks about prayer when he talks about fasting. He says you should take heed. The very first words of Jesus about the nature of spirituality and daily Godliness is take heed, is to be careful. As soon as someone says take heed that means be warned there is a danger in seeking to be an individual who is spiritual and the danger is the fact that he says, “that you do not do your charitable deeds before men to be seen by them.”

You see spirituality is something that we can try to imitate rather than have the genuine article. When we want to seen as spiritual people we have methods, conduits, practices that we can do to make it seem as if we are spiritual, to make it seem as if we know God when we do not know God. That's where the very first words of Jesus about spirituality are take heed. if you are the person who seriously wants to have a walk with God then you must be forewarned. That you and I in human nature have a tendency towards hypocrisy.

Pharisees, Sadducees,  she [Ellen White]  describes in a very simple statement, something that I thought about for a long time, when I was studying the Gospels and then I found it in the Mount of Blessing, I started laughing. She says, ‘the spirit of Pharisees  is the spirit of human nature.” So if the Pharisees and the hypocrites and the scribes and the Sadducees were these people constantly fighting against Jesus, but they were spiritual but they did plenty of worship ceremonies. They tithed on mint and cumin,  so said this is the spirit of human nature in the only problem in this room is we are and have human nature, and the people who are listening to Jesus. He said the warning, in desiring to live a godly life. And that warning that Jesus sounded was we can sometimes do things that are good things for the wrong reasons. Notice Jesus does not say in the text. “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds.” That's not his issue. He says “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds be for men to be seen by them. It's not about whether people see you or not and that's a big thing in a lot of Asian cultures and African cultures, in eastern cultures..It is that they have this big thing about people not knowing that you're the one that helped them. People not knowing you're the one that did this thing for them. If you really humble nobody should know that you did it. That's not true because Jesus lived his entire life before people, they saw everything that he did. He was not trying to hide God from other people and it didn't bother him that people knew it came from Christ. But issue was that he didn't do it before men so that they could see him, it was the reason why he was doing it. There's nothing wrong with me handing out food to a homeless man and someone across the street is watching what I'm doing. There's nothing wrong  with  the fact that I decided to help out this poor family and just so happen the news was right there. People like filming. Given this madness no I can't give you this food because the news is watching me, no that's absurd prices. The issue is do not do your charitable deeds before men to be seen by them. He says,  “Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

So now this begins to take us to verse two. In doing with the idea of a hypocrite He says, “Therefore when you do a charitable deed”. So I want you to notice twice right. Christ is encouraging us to do charitable deeds. Did you know that giving to people, serving people in charitable ways, that means for free, is a part of spirituality. You know most people are non-spiritual because they don't give to anyone. Everything they do comes with a charge or a return. But when you do things for no return but simply because I just wish to give to this person the same way I gave to this person, that is my desire. Is your eye evil because I am good. I just want to bless the person.

So to me in this line, that is the character of God and when Christ says “when you do your charitable deed” that means he's expecting you to do it at some point in time. So whenever you do your charitable deed do not sound the trumpet before you as the hypocrites. The word hypocrite in Greek comes from a Greek word that means an actor, a pretender. People getting up and pretend. He's pretending to be the king of whatever, he's a hypocrite. But he’s saying there are hypocrites inside of the religion of God and he says and guess what hypocrites do charitable deeds. Did you know that? Sometimes we think of people and say, when you and I define a hypocrite we probably use this very loose repetitive definition that is not biblical. We use a definition that a hypocrite is a person who says one thing and does another. That's how we define a hypocrite. Don't smoke but I'm smoking now you a hypocrite. That's not a hypocrite in the Bible. That's not how Jesus defines a hypocrite.

Notice hypocrisy is very, very dangerous in the context of spirituality. So he says if you want to stand a hypocrite you've got to look at the areas of spirituality and he says “therefore when you do a charitable deed then it sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets that they may have glory from men” so what is the goal of a hypocrite that they have glory from men.  What make them a hypocrite is not what they say and do another, they do exactly what they say. The issue is they do it for the glory of men. They do it because they want to be seen by men and they want to be seen as spiritual. And we may think oh! I don't do that. Well that's not true, because there are certain movies we won't watch because we know certain people are around, because we want to be seen as spiritual, because we are hypocrites. Or we're not going to sing that song would change our ring tone when we come to camp meeting and then change it back in the car ride home because I don't want people to think I got JC on my phone. Come on then you are at camp meeting, I thought you were spiritual you are the pastor's daughter. I can't wear this dress but I would normally wear it, if I wasn't around my Adventist community, because I want to be seen as being spiritual, modest. I want to be seen as a person and I don't show my tattoos so wear long sleeve shirts the whole time. You're not going to play basket and you know I'm not feeling good today.  Of course he is not feeling good today, he doesn't expose the fact he's got tattoos and some crazy figures on his arm probably a serpent, don't you know the serpent of Revelation 12, Well why did you put that on your body you belong to ... I don't want to hear it.  So long sleeves jacket,  I’m cold, hey it's eighty six degrees out here. We come to church in the Sabbath or we go do outreach because why? Everyone else is going knocking on doors I better go knock. I want to be seen by the church.  I want to be seen by people knocking on doors. But the thing that frees us from hypocrisy is not that I do what I say because they do what they say,  that's not what frees me from hypocrisy. What frees you and I from hypocrisy is that I do it, when no man is watching. I knock on doors, only God sees. I pray when God sees, that's what makes me spiritual. The measure of a man or women’s  spirituality has nothing to do with what's happening right now, including the preacher. That's why so many pastors have no power in the pulpit. That's why churches have no power in the community.

Did you know The Great Controversy, the book that literally changed my life. She says about the Reformation, Martin Luther, she says “that the power that shook the world through the Reformation, it came from the secret place of prayer”.  People thought Man is this powerful guy. I mean we read about his life, Wycliffe,  Zwingli, Huss.  These were like, this is powerful and amazing stuff.  When I first read that book in college and I'm reading this stuff I'm like This is crazy. Luther would spend three hours a day in prayer every morning. No wonder his life was so powerful. Jesus would get up a great while before day after meeting people all night, and guess where he went into a secret place. I'm not here to be seen by men. You know it was so bad people were looking for Jesus while he was praying. Interrupting the man's prayer time. Christ praying and pouring out his heart to God, Jesus there is the people are looking for you.

Here heals the entire town there was no one sick, he literally put the local hospital out of business. Ambulances were just driving around, there's no one sick in this place in the entire city. And where was Christ? On the news? Christ what is your secret? How did you heal all these people?. He was exactly in the same place that gave him the power to do it. He was in the secret place? And watch how the text goes, he says “but when you do a charitable deed”  a third time, emphasizing “you need you do a charitable deed”, spirituality is about action. It is about what you do. But that makes it authentically spiritual is, why you do this? Therefore when you do a charitable deed do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Christ is saying you need to hide even from yourself. The case of spirituality is, it should be so deep in secret that people don't even know. They have to stumble upon Christ prayer.  Have you noticed how many prayers of Jesus are recorded?  No one was there.

They stumble upon his prayer in Luke 11 and His prayer it was so powerful that in Luke 11:1 they said “Lord teach us to pray”. Because they realized after walking with Christ all this time and hearing him pray, they don't know how to pray. That is something that she [EGW] goes on to say, they associate it with his power of his life, his prayer life. They begin to make the connection. The reason why this man is so powerful is not because He's God in the flesh but you see we make that excuse all the time. Listen I'm not Jesus and really Jesus was a man, and Jesus is our example, and Jesus had access to nothing that we do not have access to. But we don't believe that, but we say it, and that makes us hypocrites. Because make an excuse and we agree with that because publicly we all know it and we don't want to appear as being heretical or believe this crazy theology.  So we affirm these things in public, righteousness by faith. Oh it's only through grace alone, faith alone. But in secret that's not how we're functioning. You should even hide it from yourself. You left hand should not even know what your right hand is doing,  and that's how secretive it is. 

And he adds, Verse four, “that your charitable deed may be seen in secret, and your Father who sees where in secret will reward you openly. Do you see the contrasts? The spirituality is in secret, but the reward is open.  So you see this constant word, secret, secret, secret, being revealed in the synagogues, in the streets. Can you imagine the sound of the trumpet as you're giving something to someone. I mean it's unbelievable to think that people are doing this  at this time. But Christ says please do not be like the hypocrites. If you're going to be godly do not be about these people who just want to be seen of men, they have their reward. That's all you will get is human affirmation, but you will get no blessing from God. And notice what the text says in verse four it says, “And your Father who sees in secret”, you know that means? If we do our things to be seen of men, God never saw it. If its just because we're having a 7am devotion. God didn't see this, because you did it to be seen of men. But you're not doing this in secret. You know waking up at seven to sing and pray and study the Bible. God didn't see this instance, because we came here because I want to be seen of men. He says well you came to the 7am prayer meeting people will  talk about how you were there at seven o'clock in the morning. That is your reward. Whereas a person who came here and says I don't care if people see me but that's not why I came because what I do when this room was empty it is just me, is what God sees. Spirituality is about living before the audience of one person. If I'm going to have deep spirituality we must not focus on what men see in don't see. We must focus on what he sees and he only sees in one place and that is in secret and if we're just pretending and we're just doing it in public settings, no surprise that when Jesus comes he can says “I never knew you” and you know what the response was. “But Lord, Lord, I cast out demons in your name to be seen. But when I prophesied in your name to be seen of men. So literally Christ says “I don't know you, I've never seen you in the secret place because that's where I see.  Literally we are in God's blind spot, if we ever to do things to be seen of men. That's heavy for us because as human beings we like human affirmation. We like community. We like to be supportive. I don't want to be the only one but, if you don't want to be the only one you don't understand what it means to be a disciple. Because Jesus just says follow me. It should be me and you that's it. And even at the end Peter didn't get this, “Lord what will happen to this man.” “What is that to you I can make him live until I come. This is nothing to do with you. You follow me.”

Don't be concerned about what God is doing in Peter's life. Don't be concerned about what God is doing Sebastian’s life. You follow me. End of discussion. But we get into spiritual communities and it's so difficult.

I went to Japan, I was shocked the whole culture is like literally the failings of men you will be assimilated. Escalator everyone moves to the left. They don't even think about it. Get on the subway train. You can't use your phone. You can't text you can't make phone calls. So you literally packed in Tokyo on this train people aren’t texting since they get on a train. Quiet just staring, literally for the next ninety seconds while we go to the next stop say nothing. They didn't even want to look at you, head down or look out the window. Literally had a guys right in my face but he's looking away. I mean I'm kind of thankful he's looking that way. We were coming from the Buddha Shrine and as we're crossing the street there's one car pulled into the crosswalk. He didn't stop soon enough. So he's right in the middle the cross walk, the light turns for us to walk across the street. Everyone walking by this guy's car stares at him in the face. Gave him a dirty look for being in the cross walk, every single person.  The look down on him and let him have it.  I said to my wife is this for real? My wife is my witness. We started laughing. Look at him What are you doing? The English have an independent mind.

So then we got to my hotel was. I'm from the streets from Chicago. No cars coming I don't care of the light says don't walk, there's no cars coming. So I am about to walk back into the street told I don't do it.  So disrespectful these Americans.  

So I'm standing there dead street no cars coming, I cannot believe I'm standing there right now. This is torture, I am a city boy. It's like there's the place there's no car across the street.  The point is safety,  not to obey the rules. If there's a car coming there is danger don’t go out.  No cars coming, I look left I look right, cross the street, NO!. Everyone stands at that corner for literally three minutes until the light switches on. All because we are individuals no one has an independent thinking mind and that is always the tendency of Eastern culture from Africa to Eastern Europe to Asia. It's the same mindset and that's when people come from the east to the west is so liberating, and the family says “Oh you've lost your direction you went to America got crazy you weren't doing that in church in Korea, you weren’t  acting like this in Africa back home. You're not doing this when we're up in Serbia. Now you want to come here from India and start behaving this way”

 Because you're in America, because America encourages independent thinking and granted that has its bad things and it's good things. But the strong suit of it is the fact it's not about being seen of the community. A culture that is a very strong collectivistic cultures, that's what we call them in communication, which is the Western cultures individualistic. If Eastern cultures is collectivistic it has a tendency to create more hypocrites. No surprise that the greatest mission fields are in Asia. Interesting. The most populous churches are in Asia. Why would that be the case? Because true spirituality is dead and that's the secret of power.

Look at prayer verse five he says, “and when you pray you should not be like the hypocrites for they love to pray”. Now is that interesting. State hypocrites love to pray. You know we think of a hypocrite we don't think of a person loves to pray. Am I telling the truth? We think that when a person to pray we think he's connected to the Lord. There were these people who went to this one conference, I'm not going to say the name, and I mean these people will pray with me over everything.  Get a glass of water hey brother lets pray. I think this could not be authentic. You know I went to another place and then we have to get ready to go so we're putting on our shoes we have to pray. OK, let's pray. We get in the van we are loaded, OK let's pray. Then we arrive at the event, let's pray. We had three prayers in three blocks. You can never have enough prayer pastor. Then we get inside and he let me pray with you and then that guy leaves and another guy walks in, “hey brother blessings man we're excited about the message, let me pray with you. After that I started predicting it. People just walk up to me “hey man I want to pray with you, right”. “Yeah, yeah, Is that OK?”  “Yeah of course and then you can pray with me?” So then I started going to them and praying with them first to save my time. I could have my time because if I don't you just keep coming. Let me pray with you. Then after you get up front before you preach, “let me pray with you”.  Then you finish preaching “hey let's pray”. Then you walk outside and the world was really blessing let's pray. Jesus take another step back, look left and right. You know these people love to pray and there's no possible way in your brain and we pray so much there is no way these people are hypocrites. No possible way they are hypocrites.

But Jesus says even hypocrites love to pray. I'm talking about the people in your church prayer warriors and after church service, “Oh yeah we need to pray” before we get there are 6am we love to pray. There can be hypocrites among them. Why? because the text says, “they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets.” Why would you be praying in the corner of the street? Because you want to be seen praying. Oh yes that is Pharisee or Rabbi such and such, Oh, he's so spiritual. Before he even buys his tomatoes, “Oh thank you Lord for these tomatoes”. OK. How much will that cost?. Thank you brother, let me bless you and your business”  Just praying. They're saying this guy so spiritual even prayed for the cashier at Kroger. Maybe he goes to Subway bless the lady man right at the register.  He loves praying in the street, but you know what's interesting in the text, he says, “he loves to pray standing in the synagogue.” Hypocrite loves praying in the Synagogue. That's the church! that's a place of worship of course. What could be wrong with having to pray in a synagogue. Well Christ says the problem is, he is doing it so they can be seen of men. And then He says, “but surely, I say to you they have their reward.”

There are some people all they get is the adoration of the church. That's all the reward, nothing more. And then he says in verse six. “When you” contrast but when you want “when you pray”. That means just like he expects us to do charitable deeds. He expects us to pray.

A part of spirituality in having a deep walk with God is doing charitable deeds. It is prayer. You cannot have a thriving relationship with God without prayer. Now he goes on to say “but when you pray go into your room.” That's interesting. OK “And when you have shut your door” then he goes on to say “pray to your father in the secret place, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” This is interesting. So then Jesus is reiterating the same thing the very power of spirituality is what we do in secret. That's what determines whether we are spiritual or not. Christian spirituality is not about public it's about private. It's not about being seen by men. It's about being seen by God. So now if I ask you the question and I ask myself the question has God seen you this week? Or were you are off his radar? I haven’t seen you all week. Korean camp meeting. Oh yeah, he's praying, he is petitioning and doing bible Study. Well where this guy come? I haven’t seen him all week, because I only see in the secret place. But you know some people only pray when it is worship service. They go back to their room and don’t pray.  This tells you and me that, I don't want to judge myself based upon how other people perceive me.

It could be one of the best advice my spiritual mother gave me when I became a preacher and finally accepted the call to be a preacher, because I was resisting. You become a preacher every one looking at your life, they think this. I went to one place to preach, there I was pick  up from the airport and said “Oh pastor we know you don't eat after five o'clock because Counsels on Diet...”.  “Who told about you I do not eat after five o'clock”. They're like “oh I mean it's after five you know”.  “No man take me to some decent food”. “Ok, then subway”. “No man”. “Well we have Subway and the Chinese place, you know, but I mean this really unhealthy cooked food oil”.  “Yeah I’m looking for oil.  Take me to the Chinese place. I don't want bread and vegetables, sorry. I'm a growing boy.” “OK, no problem pastor.” These people are so awkward. “What would you like?” “We don't really come to this kind of place”. “No problem I know what to order.” 

Then a brother comes to meet you at the conference, before I have to preach “you know that we're so excited you're here, I want to ask you a personal question, so how much time do you spend pray every day, like four hours?”  Oh Lord have mercy. “I hate to break your ivory tower. I don't spend four hours today, because the expectation is this is what you're doing because this is what we're hearing in the sermons.” But she said “Sebastian listen, don't believe the hype.” I don't believe my own hype.

It's like this, I'm going to look at who I am in God. in Christ. My question is: What am I doing when I'm not on stage. That's who I am. It gets even deeper than that, because then she [White] adds the statement of conflict and courage about Abraham that in the eyes of God a man is exactly what he is in his own home. Whether he travels the world and preaches. Whether he's a world renowned missionary, that doesn't mean anything to God. Who are you in your home? In the eyes of God, in the eyes of men you are an amazing person. But you can be amazing, a strategist, powerful theologian, spiritual, all of these things and God says but you are not that in your home. You're not that in secret and that's not the person I see you as. In the eyes of God.

So in the eyes of God, God can only judge what He sees. And if you ever dare to be seen of men He never saw it. That's why a lot of people will be deceived and confused when they are lost. When Jesus says I never knew you, what do you mean? You don't know me? I organised the regional G Y C. I'm the one that led out in creativity every year. I am the person who.... “What did you do in secret? When the lights were off when the show's over. No mikes, no cameras, no recordings. Then tell me how many songs you sing when it was just you and Jesus? Tell me how many prayers you lifted when it was just you and Jesus? Tell me how many times you took time to think, when it was just you and Jesus?  

“In secret”, He says, “Go into your room and shut the door”. And then He takes it even further than that and he says “Pray to your Father who is in secret and your Father says he's going to reward, you openly.” When we pray in secret, Jesus says this is the key to getting your prayers answered. You would only walk around seeing God doing things if you asked him in secret. So when  praying when I go to God at this present situation. Next thing you know, it's openly handled.

When you start living Christianity like that in a spirituality you will believe in prayer. But most people don't believe in prayer (a) because they don't understand how to pray in the principles of prayer. That's a big thing. People just think they can go to God pray cry, repeated over and over, God has to do, it wrong! Try that with a kid and  a parent. Or if I keep crying and asking again and again, eventually I'll wear him down. That may work with your earthly parents, but that don't work with God.

“Lord please change your law, I just don't want the Sabbath to be today. There's no amount of praying that would change the subject and the fact that you need to keep it holy because you want to do what you want to do. God is not that kind of parent you can try any sort of spiritual tantrum you want, it won't change. See what he says next vain repetition but I want to encourage us. The first thing to address is the nature of true spirituality, is what we do in secret, when there's no one there to see us. Are we kind? Are we forgiving? Do we speak with a respectful tones. You know what that begins to tell you and I is that the people who rub us the wrong way the fastest, begins to show us where we are. Because we'll be kind to everyone else. Trust me I grew up in a Caribbean home. My mom could be going off [mad] with everything, soon as the phone rings “Hi, hello, yes, how are you?” [pleasant voice].  Hey is this the same women. I think my mom schizophrenia. I mean she was on the edge. She's about to snap. So I would be glad to know where the exit is, because you don't know what's going to happen. God bless my mother.

But it taught me something in reflection when I became a Christian, how is it possible that you can speak to Barbara, She's not even your son, and you can be patient. This was the person who messed up your order, spilt was all over your table, but let me bring food to the dinner table and spill something. You've got to duck a backhand and upper cut, in no time. “What you just messed up my whole dinner”. What's going on? And kids feel the same way.

That's why pastors kids struggle, because that is all Scripture and weeping at the altar in church and the love of God and acceptance, but at home it is not that way. And kids are thinking that's not the man I know. The wife is thinking that's not the man I know, and it goes the other way around too. He's like that's not the women I know. She's up in church prayer warrior, women's ministry leader, but at home that's not what's happening with her daughters. She's got no women's ministry with her daughters. This ought to be a godly woman, we're going to have a program.

 I started thinking recently that in establishing a family I said to myself “if God sees me, based on who I am in my own home then that means as I start gauging myself. All the strategizing the G.Y.C. When I spent twenty hours of conference calls from one committee to discuss speakers one week. I have a full time job. Twenty hours is a part time job. One committee and I'm on fifteen [committees]. All you got to call, and you got your own department  and you've got this to go to this place, you got to go to that call. So I'm thinking all the strategizing and thinking and analysis I'm doing to present a conference that is to happen for five days at the end of the year. And now the question is how many conference calls have you had people having to figure out how to take their homes to the next level spiritually? How many conference calls of men coming together just to pray for their wives?  Or wives coming together just to pray for their husbands? Just to pray teach us how to have family worship. You know Ellen white said she was afraid to stay in a home that did not have family worship. She found out if these people did not have worship. I don't want to stay here because this is open [to the enemy]. She could feel the inner spirit. These people don't even come together to worship as a family. She said I do not want to stay in that house, the devil will free reign, because the altar was broken down.

When do we start having conference calls to figure out how to take my spiritual life to the next level? When do we start looking at strategies to say listen we have a strong issue in our Korean community people are not studying the Bible? People are not interested in God. So when is the last time we had a Conference call about that? When was the last time we stayed up late. It's amazing, when I first volunteered for the GYC I was up to four in the morning every night for six days. Literally, I slept for two hours because back then the morning devotion was 6 am. People complain about 7:30, 8 o'clock. This is not early. I was going to bed at 4 and waking up at 5:30. No shower or anything just wake up change your tie, start driving. I'm here, ready to seek the Lord. And this thing is going all day.  Now when was the last time that I complain that because my kids are my wife would stay up until eleven and I'm up in arms. I'm frustrated with my wife and kids. I'm just irritated.  The at GYC I'm not even eating for eight or nine hours. Let the husband not have a meal for five hours. He's unbearable, for his family! But you will go all day at camp and say, “I haven't eaten anything today. I skip lunch and dinner because there is so much ministry to be done.” But when he comes home he can not go six or nine hours with no milk, to minister to his kids. There is no sacrifice and that's exactly how God sees you. You think because you went nine hours at camp meeting with no meal “He is so spiritual”. No! God’s right, you have my blind spot can’t see.

So what do you do when there is nothing to be seen?  If we really want to know who we are and what we're about that is going to be the critical key. that is going to be the critical key.

I just want to conclude on the nature of how spirituality then grows. This thing is so powerful this is when I started appreciating the Sermon on the Mount. I want you to notice in Matthew 6 we're going to jump ahead to verse 25.  Jesus says “Therefore I say to you do not worry about your life, what you eat or what you will drink. Nor about your body what you will put on. Is not life more than food in the body more than clothing.” He says: “look at the birds of the air for they neither sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns. Yet your heavenly Father he feeds them. Are you not of more value than they” he says “which of you by worrying can add one cubic to his stature.”

I want to first start off with the principle here, that Christ says, worrying about your spiritual growth will not help you grow. If you walk into a place and say “I am the shortest person here.” You can worry all you want it's not going to add one inch to your height. Isn't that true? “I am so short, so short. I am so short you going to be the same height.” Worrying is not going to change anything. Well it is true for your physical growth, It's true for your spiritual. I need to get in the Bible, I need to get deeper into the Bible, I just need to be praying. Worry  is not going to grow spiritually. We're not going to grow by worrying and fretting “I am doing this to be seen of Man, oh man I'm not spiritual”. This is something I see all the time with in Korean culture always second guessing yourself. Doubting your intuition and your sense. “Oh yeah, you know I'm constantly criticizing myself because I don't want to be a purist prideful I don't appear as confident because that's dangerous that's prideful. You're going to be looked down for that because I want to be seen of men, as being a humble person.” 

But if I come and say honestly: “listen me sitting here second guessing myself, is not helping me spiritually and it has nothing to do with me in the Korean church or my community. It has everything to do with me and Him. And me sitting there whining and pretending like I don't know how to be spiritual so I can appear to be humble is not helping my case. This is doing nothing for me so let's not pretend”.

Christ says “as a result, so why do you worry if it does nothing”. And then he goes to verse 28 he says: “Consider the lilies of the field how they grow. So consider the rhythms of the field how they grow they neither toil nor spin, and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field. Which is today and tomorrow thrown into the oven. Will he not much more clothes you oh you of little faith”

Here's the point. Jesus gives two illustrations in creation. He says look at the birds. Let me say that and he says Consider the lilies of the field and what is I want you to consider about that, how they grow. So if Christ is telling us: “listen I want you to look at the lilies how they grow to learn how you.”  He says: “they don't toil, these things are not laboring to grow. You're not spinning. I got to straighten my stem you know wrap up, I got to get bigger. Just keep growing the stem. Get stronger and stronger.” “No!!”  he says “look at a lily and how it grows.”

The first thing you learn about a lily is that it grows slowly. It doesn't become a flower over night. The second thing you learn about how Lily grows he says, it doesn't toil, doesn't spin but it is clothed by God with this particular beauty. And the third thing is a lily grows by drawing upon the things that God has provided for its growth. Lo and behold it has grow from the soil. That's interesting because that's where the nutrients are. Then it needs water and rain. Well guess what, it rains. God provided the rain. Can a lily do anything about the rain? Can a lily change the soil?  The last thing it needs the sun. And guess what, there is the sun provided by God.  So the way that these things grow is by drawing upon all the things that God has provided for its growth and nourishment. The sun, the rain, soil. He doesn't toil, he doesn't spin. That's what the word means to weave his clothing to be beautiful. In other words a flower a lily needs nutrients, it need sunlight, it needs water, but who supplies all of those things? God!

And the birds of the air they need food, yes. But look at the birds. he says, they don't sow, they don't reap and tey do not gather into barns. “I'll know, that's what I'm going to see some worms. I need to get my Ziploc bags started these things up you never know when it's going to be as might be a famine”. No birds do not even do that, he says, “but your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not of more value?”

So here is the lesson, very simply put. Listen to this statement very carefully. “God supplies the needs that He creates”. That will be something you probably meditate on for a while. But I have to just say it to summarize because my time is gone. But I could continue to explore the passage to show you this is exactly what He's teaching, because by the end he says: “your heavenly Father already knows you need these things.” We're not praying to God to inform Him. “Lord give me an understanding in the Bible.” He knows you need understanding, but his plan is God supplies the needs that He creates. He created the bird. Did he create the bear with a need for food? So who supplies it? God! He created the lily and the lily needs sunlight, Yes. And who supplied it? God! He created man and man needs a relationship with God, man needs spirituality, he needs prayer, he needs connection with heavenly things, he needs community. Guess what? God supplies the needs He creates.

And so for our spirituality as we learn from the birds and from the flowers they just grow by applying everything that God has put around them, to thrive. So if you and I want to continue to grow spiritually look at what is around us. If there is a prayer meeting you should be there, because it will help you grow and there's a Bible study you should be there because it will help you grow, God provided for you.  If there is an opportunity to do charitable work, you should be there because God provided it for you. All these things God says: I supplied the needs that I create. He knows that we have a need for a purpose in life. All of these needs, God supplies the needs that He creates. And that is His promise. We have a need to be spiritual and to live a meaningful life that is deeply personal, reflective and intentional and God supplies that, by His grace.

 

Let's pray. Father in heaven we thank you so much for this time to study and word this morning to reflect upon the nature of spirituality and how we grow. Father if there is anyone here under the sound of my voice that is thinking to themselves Lord I've been a hypocrite, much of the things that I do that involve God, I do around others but now I want to really go thrive in secret more so than in public. So if there's anyone here this morning who wants to say Lord I need you to change my entire perspective of spirituality and I need you to start helping me to sing in secret and I need you to help me to start praying in secret. I need you to start helping me to study the Bible in secret, to reflect, to fast, to do charitable deeds. If that is your prayer just want you to raise your right hand to heaven, say Lord that's my prayer. I want to learn to do these things in secret not just to be seen of men. Father you see the hands that have been raised and I pray Father that you would teach them the secret of strength and that you would reward them openly for their private commitment to you and others may wonder and be completely fascinated. Where does this power come from what are these blessings come from and they can lead them to the same well which is to drink from that well and secret of the waters of life. And so we thank you Father for these gifts. We trust you will lead us in this path until you come. Amen

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