Preface: there was just a lot of stuff in here, so I’m not going to go in depth on every single point…Thats like 13 sermons (at least) at once. No.
When I was first reading through, I noted that chapter 5 tells all about these things you should just do, and then suddenly chapter 6 is all these things you should do in secret. How do these two fit together, then, if they are to be carried out in different manners? Since the Bible originally didn’t have chapter/verse numbers, I tried to think of the two sections as a cohesive unit. As I was reading, there was one verse that came up in my mind:
“… be holy for I am holy.”
Leviticus 11:43 (and referenced in 1 Peter 1:16)
Honestly, some of the things in this passage just make sense to do. Don’t get a divorce (because marriage is a sacred covenant) [5:31-32], don’t swear to do things (just do what you said you would do) [5:33-37], love everyone [5:43-48] … and of course be the salt and the light. That section is often referenced (I find at least) because it reminds us that we are supposed to spread the good news of Christ to everyone. Being light to the world, and not forgetting who we come from [5:13-16].
Because Christ came to fulfill the law.
Jesus tells those listening (fairly early on) that he is fulfilling the laws of the prophets. It is for this reason (and the fact that he is the Son of God) that he is able to speak with authority. We represent Christ to the world, and thus we are the salt and light. And to BE the salt and light, we do these things he commanded (look at all those pieces fitting together!)
Then chapter 6 comes and we say “hold up. I thought I was supposed to be showing the world about God, not hiding it?” Well … yea. The point is that the glory is supposed to go to God, not to us. Unlike the religious leaders of the day, we are supposed to do things for the glory of God, not so that other people will see us and think we’re fantastic.
And if we are doing these things for the glory of God, we have no need to be anxious, worrying about the next day. If we worry, we externally show that we are not trusting, which diminishes the image of God who we say is all sufficient. Not much glory in that!
So to conclude (my English teacher would hate me for using that ….), today I’m going to try and remember that the things I do are all on display for God, and that my job is to give him glory! It’s easy to forget … but it is ultimately so worth it to give everything back to the creator who gave everything to me!