Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Matthew Chapter 6
Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 6:1-4
6:1Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to be seen of them: else ye have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
6:2When therefore thou doest alms, sound not a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward. 6:3But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 6:4that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee.
Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 6:5-15
6:5And when ye pray, ye shall not be as the hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have received their reward. 6:6But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee.
6:7And in praying use not vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 6:8Be not therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
6:9After this manner therefore pray ye.
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
6:10Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
6:11Give us this day our daily bread.
6:12And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
6:13And bring us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
6:14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 6:15But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
MAY 11, 1960 [?] & DECEMBER 26, 1971: Matt. 6:1-13
Unity's Interpretation of the International Sunday School Lesson
Why is it important for us to do good anonymously? Doing good anonymously keeps the mind single and the intent pure. Where acknowledgment occurs pride and self-complacency may easily rob us of the benefit we should otherwise gain from giving thought to others before ourselves. We are to live “unto God,” and not try to impress those about us with cur piety and sanctity.
If we are not to let others know of the good that we do, how can we let our light shine before men? Our light shines in the spirit that animates us and that inspires us to action independently of our consciousness of others and of the impression that we make upon them. If we wish to help others in order to make a name for ourselves as good neighbors or good people, we are living in personal consciousness, and are missing the rich blessings of spiritual compensation. In what state of mind should we pray? We should think only of God as our Father, praying with reverence and love. We should never be fearful when we pray, for fear puts a barrier between us and God and defeats the purpose of prayer, which is communion with Divine Mind.
How do we pray in the “inner chamber”? Metaphysically understood, the “inner chamber” is the spiritual consciousness within the mind and the soul of man. It is also called “the secret place of the Most High.”
What is the meaning of “having shut thy door”? Shutting the door of the mind is closing out the thoughts of the outer world from one's consciousness.
How do we pray to the “Father who is in secret”? The spiritual center within every one of us is hidden and secret from the outer consciousness. When we, in the silence, center our attention upon Spirit within us, we make contact with the universal Spirit in which we live, move, and have our being. By practice we acquire the ability to make union with Spirit in the inner recesses of the soul. Then Spirit is real to us, and we can hold communion with it and know for ourselves that there is an omnipresent, animating Principle back of and within man and the universe.
What is the language of the kingdom? Prayer, praise, and meditation on Truth. In prayer we acknowledge the kingdom as a realm of mind and ourselves as mental and spiritual beings.
Is the realm of mind admittedly higher in consciousness than the physical realm? It is, and it is so acknowledged in the words “Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come.”
Must the will have a vehicle of expression always, or is it purely a mental faculty? Will and power are closely related faculties, but faculties only. “Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth” is an acknowledgment that the will of the Infinite prevails in the realm of Divine Mind, and that it can be made to prevail in the physical and material realm also.
What does the prayer for our daily bread include? It includes all our necessities, the satisfaction of all our hungers, whether physical, mental, or spiritual.
Are we forgiven our debts merely by our asking to be forgiven than? By asking forgiveness and by extending it to others we qualify ourselves to receive forgiveness of our shortcomings. Without a forgiving spirit we cannot receive or accept forgiveness of our sins.
How can. Divine Mind “bring us ... into temptation”? It does not, but the sense mind can and does. This prayer is a plea that Divine Mind may dominate our consciousness and wholly fill us.
I pray to my Father in secret, and He recompenses me.
MAY 22, 1960 [?]: Matt. 6:6-13; 7:7-12
Unity interprets a living BIBLE LESSON
HOW TO PRAY EFFECTIVELY
Prepared by Mary Mae Oesch
Jesus taught that true prayer is communion with God. He recommended that we get still, shut out worldly thoughts, and become fully aware of God's Spirit within ourselves. When we find and dwell consciously in the secret place of oneness with God, we enjoy rich rewards. Jesus warned against the use of empty phrases. Faith and consciousness of God are essential.
In recommending what we now call the Lord's Prayer, Jesus was not” telling us what words to use, but was giving us a pattern and illustrating the consciousness in which we should pray.
Our version of the Lord's Prayer might read: “Our Father, whose divine Spirit is within us, we cherish Your sacred presence. Your kingdom of perfect life, love, and wisdom manifests through us as we do Your will. Our affairs are established: in divine order as we grow in the consciousness of our indwelling divinity. You have made provision for all our needs. Forgiveness for our mistakes is forthcoming as we readily forgive offenses. We cannot be tempted beyond our strength, for we rely on Your Spirit to guide and sustain us, and we meet each challenge triumphantly.”
When we pray in faith, our prayers are always answered. Divine love is infinitely greater than human devotion, and our heavenly Father wants us to enjoy rich rewards for having lived by His law of love.
We learn to do by doing. If we want to know the value of prayer, then prayer will become a do-it-yourself project that we perfect through practice. We could talk about prayer day and night without becoming proficient in it. But when we put to use the helpful truths we learn, we find prayer a dynamic and effective link between desire and fulfillment. Prayer unites us with an invisible source of unlimited power, and we are able to do much more than our human self had ever thought possible. This is one of the ways in which “God helps those who help themselves.”
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Here the Master gave us a workable formula for success through prayer. The key words - ask, seek, knock - give us something definite to do. They summarize our part in making dreams come true.
Jesus said we should ask—formulate our desires and make a definite demand. The kind of asking Jesus had mind in no way implies begging or pleading. Rather, as in the Lord's Prayer, Jesus asked by making affirmative statements. We can affirm our oneness with the good, knowing that as we pray God supplies our need. Spiritual substance awaits our claim. Thus in Spirit our prayer is already answered. When we ask in faith or declare that our goad is forthcoming, we start the process of fulfillment.
We seek our good by expecting it and getting ready for it. This spirit of expectancy carries over into all our thoughts, words, and activities. Having set in motion the process that causes our well-being to become manifest, we should “follow through” by visualizing good results. As we keep our vision fixed on our goal, we are guided unerringly to it.
Prayer has opened more doors than we could ever count. When Jesus advised knocking on the door, He was saying that we should call upon the Christ Spirit in us and let our prayers be answered through inspired action.
As we open the door of positive spiritual acceptance, we may be led to complete our prayer by taking some outward step. God will give us the right ideas, providing we are willing to be led as His Spirit inspires us. So let us pray boldly and with faith, and work toward our goal as Spirit within us directs. Ask ... seek .... knock, and give thanks for answered prayer.
How could we describe the Lord's Prayer? It is a series of powerful affirmations stating what is true of God and our relation to God.
How could the Lord's Prayer be condensed into two words? By realizing the infinite wealth of meaning implied in the two introductory words: “Our Father.”
What are some requisites for true prayer? We should recognize God as our Father, acknowledge oneness with God, pray from the heart, believe that we receive as we ask, desire the highest good of all, and let go every unforgiving thought.
DECEMBER 26, 1971: Matt. 6:9; Mal. 2:10; Exod. 20:12; Gen. 4:9; I Cor. 12:12-14, 26-27; II Peter 1:5a, 7; I Peter 2:16-17
UNITY INTERPRETS A LIVING BIBLE LESSON
OUR FATHER AND OUR BROTHERS
Key Thought: God's Family
Prepared by MARY MAE OESCH
At the beginning of the Lord's Prayer we acknowledge God as the Father of every living creature. When Jesus suggested this manner of praying, He might have said: “We know Thee, God, as our Father and the Father of all mankind. We know that Thy Spirit is within us, the Source of our being and of all our good. Thy name in us is holy.”
In Old Testament days Malachi had pointed out that all men have one spiritual Father, one Creator; therefore, all have an obligation to accept their fellow men as brothers. The fifth commandment is an admonition not only to honor earthly parents, but to honor the great Father-Mother of all mankind. Man's well-being is gained through reverence for the Creator, in whom the father quality of wisdom is joined with the mother quality of love. God's allegorical “first family” went astray when Adam and Eve acknowledged both good and evil; then later when their son Cain killed his brother and remonstrated with his conscience, “Am I my brother's keeper?” Cain's name means selfishness. His killing Abel represents the killing, by body-selfishness, of all human sympathy and love.
Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, makes an apt comparison. He suggests that just as all the members of the body—such as hands, feet, eyes, ears, and nose—are portions of the whole body, so all persons are part of the one great Christ body. No matter what, the race, nationality, culture, or religious persuasion—all are children of the one spiritual Father. No one member is the whole, yet all are important to the whole. No one person is self-sufficient, and what influences one has its effect on all. We are all “the body of Christ and individually members of it."
This is one of the reasons, as we are told in II Peter, why our efforts to live virtuous lives should include “brotherly affection with love.”
Even though we are free to live as we please, we should never use our freedom in evil, selfish ways that will deny good to anyone in God's great family. Rather, we are to honor the divine Spirit in all persons, love our fellow men, and reverence God everywhere.
Our Father! If we could realize—fully and completely—the tremendous import of the first two words of our Lord's Prayer, we would be taking a giant step in solving all problems in human relations. To acknowledge the universal Fatherhood of God is to imply the brotherhood of man, to recognize our spiritual kinship with all persons and, in fact, all forms of life on any level. The inhabitants of no one planet, the enthusiasts of no one religion, nor any one ethnic group can claim a monopoly on God; for God's great family is universal, extending on and on beyond the Milky Way. So if anyone has ever felt a momentary urge to resign from the human race, he may as well forget it. We are all part of God's family, no matter who or where we are, or on what level we manifest.
Starting at home, let us never underestimate the value of the human family as a social unit. Every home should be a center where each member of the family lives for the others and all live for God. But we shall want to extend the boundaries of our thinking, so that we recognize God not only as the head of the house, but as the head of our universal “house”—that we may live as spiritual brothers to all persons.
However, since sibling rivalry and family quarrels date back to Cain and Abel, we find ourselves questioning also whether we are our brother's keeper. Eric Butterworth, in his book “Unity of All Life,” gives the nontraditional but enlightened answer that we are not our brother's keeper, but our brother's brother. This calls for a different concept than is usually accepted today, and a different one than was understood by the erring Cain. Cain's need was not only to deny personal selfishness, but also to recognize and reverence the worth of his more spiritual-minded brother.
How, then, if we are to live as an honorable member of God's family, can we feel and show a greater spirit of true brotherhood? How can we be our brother's brother from a Truth standpoint? The answers are many and varied, including the elimination of prejudice, selfishness, intolerance, and greed. But perhaps the paths to brotherhood all converge into two main arteries in the life-stream: one, reverence for all life; two, Golden Rule living, as taught by Jesus. If we are sincere and consistent in looking for and respecting and encouraging the divine self in every other person, then we shall find it easy and natural to live as our brother's brother.
Why might we consider the first two words of our Lord's Prayer as the most important? “Our Father,” rightly understood, tells us who and what we are in Truth through our relation to God, and clarifies our kinship with all God's universal family.
What are some attitudes that contribute to a spirit of brotherhood? Understanding, tolerance, generosity, kindness, the agape type of love, and—above all—respect for the Christ potential in each individual.
By J. Sig Paulson
After some struggle and confusion I have finally reached the conclusion That the greatest present life ever gives is the present!
WORDS TO LIVE BY
We all want peace, but usually we want the other fellow to be peaceful first. But all of us are children of God and fully endowed with the ability to live in a friendly, peaceful, harmonious atmosphere of our own making. So we must be willing to contribute our part toward the healing of the nations.
— May Rowland.
Faith is never passive. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” Do not just listen to me or to anyone else. Get busy; use your ideas. Too many of us excuse ourselves by thinking we do not have enough understanding to apply the ideas we have. Do not delude yourself, get busy.
— May Rowland
AN INVITATION FROM THE UNITY CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOL
Dear Friends: The Unity Correspondence School offers a series of study programs that will increase your understanding of spiritual principles. These programs will help you activate the principles so that you may attain a more meaningful and fulfilling life. There is a fundamental course and two Bible courses—an Old Testament course of 24 lessons prepared by Elizabeth Sand Turner, based on her book Let There Be Light, and a New Testament course of 24 lessons written by Dr. Herbert J. Hunt, Dean of Bible Studies at Unity School. Because each person grows at his or her own rate in spiritual awareness, there are no deadlines for assignments. Our dedicated staff takes much time and thought in grading lessons and adding helpful comments to guide you on your way. Send for your enrollment application…. We'll look forward to helping you grow!
Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 6:19-21
6:19Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal: 6:20but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 6:21for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.
[Undated]: Matt. 6:19-21, 24-34
Unity's Interpretation of the International Sunday School Lesson
Making Sure of Essentials
What are treasures in heaven? They are the rich store of true ideas and thoughts in mind and heart that together with true actions form the background of Christ-like character and individuality.
Why is the heart wherever the treasure is? Whatever our thoughts are set upon comes to mean more to us than anything else, and feeling follows thought, clustering around the nucleus of ideas and ideals as bees about their queen. Thus the heart is with the treasure.
Mentally, why cannot man serve two masters? “Two masters” here means opposites, and no one can divide his allegiance between opposing ideals or beliefs and retain his individual integrity.
Does the commandment not to be anxious concerning our supply of food, drink, and clothing follow logically the statement that no man can serve two masters? Yes, it is a logical continuation of the thought of divided allegiance, since anxiety destroys one's faith in God. No one can be in both states of mind, therefore we are to rid ourselves of anxiety and hold to faith instead.
Since food is a necessity to physical life, what is the life that is “more than the food”? The inner life of thought, faith, love, and spiritual power.
What thought is implied in the comparison of the birds of the heaven and the lilies of the field with man? Birds are without faith consciousness such as man is capable of but are creatures of instinct. The lilies of the field are entirely passive examples of plant life. Since both plants and birds are “clothed” and fed from the Father's bounty, man need have no fear but that he too will find his wants supplied, if he will only cease to interpose doubt and anxiety between himself and God and will trust God completely.
Where do we find the kingdom that we are to seek? Within ourselves. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you.” The kingdom within is the inner realm of Spirit, where the Christ presence, the I AM, the divine self of man, abides.
How do we seek God's kingdom and His righteousness? We do this by developing ideas and ideals in harmony with faith, love, wisdom, and the other faculties that we wish to express, and by expressing them consistently.
I give my thought to the things that endure.
Anything which does not measure up to the Christ pattern of perfection can be changed.
— Myrtle Fillmore.
Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 6:22-23
6:22The lamp of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 6:23But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is the darkness!
MAY 2, 1970 [?]: Matt. 6:22; Matt. 9:27-31; Mark 8:22-26
Prepared by MARY MAE OESCH
Jesus taught that health and happiness are determined by what we allow ourselves to see with our mind's eye. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light.” Spiritual vision is sound, filled with faith, single only to the good.
Matthew gives us an example of a time when Jesus‘ spiritual vision enabled Him to restore sight to two men who were blind. When the two asked to be healed, Jesus asked whether they had faith that their eyes could be made to see. Receiving the men's affirmative answer, Jesus touched their eyes and told them: “According to your faith be it done to you.”
The healing was accomplished then and there. Jesus cautioned that the men should not tell others of the healing, because He did not want them to recall their former sightless condition. But the men quickly spread the word about all that had happened.
At another time, when a blind man was brought to Jesus, a partial healing preceded the complete cure. The man reported that he saw men, “but they look like trees, walking.” When Jesus touched the man's eyes again, the man “looked intently and was restored, and saw everything clearly.” Then Jesus advised the man to return to his home rather than enter the nearby village.
No problem having to do with the body or its functions is solely physical. The degree of our spiritual understanding, our beliefs and attitudes, our emotions, our mental habits—all are involved.
Since the eye typifies the ability of the mind to discern and understand, any difficulty concerning the eyes should cause us to turn to God in prayer for spiritual vision. It is sensible to accept any outward help that seems wise. But we must know that true and lasting health comes through recognition and acknowledgment of wholeness in the person who has expressed physical limitation.
Let us work for the spiritual vision which Jesus possessed, the vision that looked beyond physical handicaps to the perfect expression of man's spiritual self.
The man who, in the first stage of his healing, saw men “like trees, walking,” was like many of us who still struggle with what we might call a “limited consciousness.” We are not blind to spiritual Truth, but not ready to see it clearly and apply it wholly. Or some of our emotions or actions may be at cross purposes with our beliefs.
Intellectually, we believe in God as the one Presence and one Power. We see the tremendous possibilities of faith. But our faith is tinged with doubt. We vacillate between hope and despair. We believe in miracles of healing, but have not gained an abiding personal identity with them.
Our need is to pray our way through to a higher level of consciousness, so that our “eye is sound.” The Authorized Version of Matthew 6:22 reads: “If ... thine eye is single [to the good], thy whole body shall be full of light.”
We need not be discouraged if our prayers and meditations do not bring instant and permanent results. Jesus and the man who saw “trees, walking” did not content themselves with partial healing. When Jesus touched the man's eyes again, a complete recovery of sight resulted.
Let us be grateful for any improvement in a condition about which we have prayed, then continue to focus the whole of our belief and attention upon spiritual perfection. Our affirmations for good eyesight may be similar to some recommended in the book Divine Remedies:
“Through the all-seeing Mind, I have perfect spiritual vision. My eyes are now made strong and whole by the renewing, vitalizing, energizing life of the Holy Spirit, which is active in them.”
What does it mean to have an eye that is sound and single?” A searching quality of mind with keen observation that selects only that which is good. The single eye is open and receptive only to the guiding light of Spirit.”
What is spiritual vision? “Seeing God as the foundation of all, the source of all, and the substance of all. Seeing the good, the true, and the beautiful everywhere. In this manner is the eye single and the vision perfected.”
Distinguish between sight and vision. Physical sight is one aspect of vision. True vision is the ability of the mind “to discern the reality of Spirit that lies back of every form or symbol in the material world.
Metaphysically Interpreting Matthew 6:25-34
6:25Therefore I say unto you, be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the food, and the body than the raiment? 6:26Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they? 6:27And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? 6:28And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 6:29yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 6:30But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 6:31Be not therefore anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 6:32For after all these things do the Gentiles seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 6:33But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
6:34Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
[Undated]: Matt. 6:25-33
Unity interprets a living BIBLE LESSON
HOW TO PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST
Prepared by Mary Mae Oesch
In today's lesson reference Jesus sought to help us see life in true perspective. He assured us that there is no need to be anxious or worried about material needs. God, whose children we are, will provide for us as we realize our oneness with Him and trust Him.
To illustrate His meaning, Jesus called attention to the birds that do not sow crops, reap harvests, or hoard supplies of food. Since God furnishes everything necessary for the well-being of the birds, will He not also readily provide for man?
This gave Jesus the opportunity to point out the futility of worry. Has anyone ever grown taller or lived longer because he wasted his energies on thoughts of anxiety?
The wild flowers in the field served as another example to show how God provides for His creation. The lilies do not work feverishly as men do. Yet all the kingly robes of Solomon could not equal the beauty of the lilies’ attire.
Jesus went on to note that even the grass underfoot testified to God's providing love. Does not God supply the soil, water, and sunshine for the growth of the grass?
Jesus cautioned against undue concern for the acquisition of material things. Rather, let us realize that as spiritual beings, our main objective should be to know and express our spiritual nature. As we put God first in our lives and obey His laws rightly, we attract additional blessings to fill all our needs and good desires.
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
How characteristic it was of Jesus to use flowers, probably growing in profusion nearby, as a symbol of security and trust. Flowers always hold valuable lessons for those who quicken their perception to appreciate them. In this instance, Jesus was saying, in effect: “Consider these beautiful lilies. Can you imagine their worrying their pretty heads about whether God will supply enough rain and sunshine and nutrition for their growth? They don't spend all their waking hours struggling for wealth; nor do they wilt or stay awake at night fretting because they're afraid God will fail to rain blessings on them tomorrow.
“God knows the needs of the lilies, and makes provision for them as part of His perfect plan. Should not man, who is meant to express God on a much higher level than the lilies, be able to trust the Creator and Sustainer of life?”
Jesus might have continued: “Although the lilies appear not to work hard for a living, they do fulfill their divinely appointed function, which is to bloom as beautiful lilies. They are expressions of beauty; and you, too, are meant to bloom as beautiful souls. As children of God, what is your divinely appointed function? Is it not to develop and bring forth your own God-self, to learn and express the attributes of God?”
Should prayer and meditation and spiritual development take the place of physical work and outward efforts? Perhaps Jesus might say: “Let's put first things first, and get a balanced perspective. The person who neglects his spiritual growth and gives all of his attention and energy to money or fame or trivial pleasures has a warped perspective and has failed to see his true purpose in life. On the other hand, the spiritual mystic who does not translate his higher understanding into loving service and constructive involvement falls short of fulfilling his mission.”
Surely Jesus might conclude: “Spiritual consciousness does not supplant physical effort, but guides and directs them wisely. God provides for us by working through us. So pray regularly, think positively, trust in God always; and let all of your work and activity contribute to the upliftment of the best in mankind.
What does it mean to seek God's kingdom and His righteousness? The kingdom of God is the Christ consciousness, the realm of divine ideas producing their expression in perfect harmony. Righteousness is the right use of God-given attributes.
In telling us not to be anxious about tomorrow's needs, was Jesus advising us to be shiftless and lazy? No, the spiritual and mental process of developing our Christ self does not supplant our physical efforts, but inspires and directs them rightly. Jesus was saying, too, the worry is unnecessary, foolish, and useless.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 10-22-2013