Matthew 6 MSG/NIV - Online Parallel Bible

 
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1 "Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding. 1 "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 "When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure - 'playactors' I call them - treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that's all they get. 2 "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
3 When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 Just do it - quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out. 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
5 "And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat? 5 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
6 "Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
7 "The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
8 Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. 9 "This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 Set the world right; Do what's best - as above, so below. 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Keep us alive with three square meals. 11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You're in charge! You can do anything you want! You're ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. '
14 "In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can't get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15 If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God's part. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16 "When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don't make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won't make you a saint. 16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
17 If you 'go into training' inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,
18 God doesn't require attention-getting devices. He won't overlook what you are doing; he'll reward you well. A Life of God-Worship 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
19 "Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or - worse! - stolen by burglars. 19 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
20 Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 "Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. 22 "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.
23 If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar. If you pull the blinds on your windows, what a dark life you will have! 23 But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 "You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can't worship God and Money both. 24 "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.
25 "If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don't fuss about what's on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. 25 "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
26 Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds. 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
27 "Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ?
28 All this time and money wasted on fashion - do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, 28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.
29 but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
30 "If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers - most of which are never even seen - don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?'
32 People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.