Beyond the Weekend

August 23 | Just Don’t

August 23, 2021


Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. Matthew 5:1-2

Read: Matthew 6:1-18
Matthew 6


What Jesus says grabs the attention of those on the hill. He’s halfway through the Sermon on the Mount when he starts talking about religious practices. Speaking about three familiar practices—giving, praying and fasting—Jesus adamantly says to them, “Don’t!” Jesus doesn’t say they should stop doing these things because they are good things to do. He says they shouldn’t do them the way they’ve seen their religious leaders do them. Instead, he wants them to practice them for the right reasons. He wants them on “the road that leads to life” (Matthew 7:14).

Giving, praying and fasting are spiritual practices designed to bring God’s people closer to him. They help us develop his character and strengthen our trust in him. But we can do them for the wrong reasons. In fact, we sometimes do them to draw attention to ourselves or as an attempt to earn God’s favor. Our involvement in church, the money we give and our volunteer efforts are all good things as long as we do them for the right reasons.

This means that Jesus may be saying to us, “Don’t!” It’s a warning for us to examine our hearts. Jesus wants us to look at our motivation for everything we do, even the “good” things we do for him and the church. He wants us on “the road that leads to life.”


Begin the process of being open to what God has for you through this series. Ask God to show you where your motivation needs to change. Pray a prayer like this, “Father, help me to become the person you created me to be. Show me those areas where your Spirit needs to work in my heart. Help me to trust you through the process of becoming more like Jesus. Amen.”


Join us this year as we read through the New Testament.

Today’s reading is Galatians 4.

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.

You Might Also Like