Memory Verse: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy,and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
All treasures are to be held in subjection to God and used as He directs. He who is in touch with eternal realities can well afford to hold earthly possessions with a loose hand. Worldly wealth soon passes away and leaves him who has nothing else poor indeed. But those who lay up heavenly treasure by spending and being spent for God, while numbered perchance among the poor of this world, will be rich in faith. When life is ended here they will find endless treasure held in reserve above. The more we distribute for the blessing of others as guided by the Lord, the more wealth we lay up in Heaven.
Discuss key differences in earthly treasure and Heavenly treasures. Consider earthly and eternal consequences of each.
Tuesday: Spiritual Transformation: From Self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness
John is calling for repentance of those who have come into the wilderness to see him. John was not trying to explain to the people ways to get into Heaven, but was rather showing others how to make the necessary changes in their lives which would prepare them, and ultimately others, for the coming of Christ.
If the necessary preparations were not made, the people could expect only discipline and judgment from the Messiah when He arrived. The Messiah’s message would build upon and exceed the message of John. This message of John is in fulfillment of the words of the angel to John’s father, Zacharias (1:14-17) and the prophecy from Isaiah 40:3-5. When we repent and live for Christ’s coming, our lives will produce fruits of Christ-centeredness. How are you working to transform your life?
Wednesday: Spiritual Transformation: To The Crowd
John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”
Consider I John 3:17-18 - If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
These verses give an example of how to lay down our lives for others to help those in need. This is strikingly similar to James' teaching in James 2:14-17. How clearly do you really love others? Are you as generous as you should be with your money possessions and time?
Thursday: Spiritual Transformation: To The Tax Collectors
“Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
Consider Proverbs 20:23 - Diverse weights are an abomination to the Lord and dishonest scales are not good.
"Diverse weights" refers to the loaded scales a merchant might use in order to cheat his customers. Dishonesty is a difficult sin to avoid. It is easy to cheat if we think no one else is looking. But dishonesty affects the very core of a person. It makes him untrustworthy and untrusting. It eventually makes him unable to know or relate to others. Don't take dishonesty lightly. Even the smallest portion of dishonesty contains enough of the poison of deceit to kill your spiritual life. If there is any in your life, tell God about it now.
Friday: Spiritual Transformation: To The Soldiers
“Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
Consider Hebrews 13:5 - Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
We must learn to be content by striving to live with less rather than desiring more. Give away out of your abundance rather than accumulating more and relish what you have rather than resenting what you're missing. We can see God's love expressed in what he has provided and continually remember that money and possessions will all pass away.