June 19. Matthew 5
Well, what did you think of our sojourn in the Old Testament, perusing parts of scripture that particularly sing with imagery or are rich in worship and prayer? Did you have a favorite passage amongst them? I would be hard put to tell you which one I loved best. I did gain a broader understanding of the majesty and glory of our God. I also was challenged to pray more persistently. I was humbled by the diligence of those who spent sometimes days in prayer about a certain issue before the Lord. I want to come to Him again and again, confident that He hears me and does not tire of His little girl Sharon speaking to Him about what is on her heart.
We started our New Testament passages today with the most famous sermon of all times. We only looked at part of it, but what a powerful passage! Jesus turned our assumptions on their heads! We are blessed when we are poor in spirit and when we mourn? It’s not enough that we avoid adultery and murder. We also have to tend to our thought lives?! If someone in authority asks us to carry a heavy load for a mile, we should carry it an extra mile? Really? And the response to enemies is to … love them? This sermon is stunning in its reversals and upheavals to the way we would naturally respond to situations. I think I could camp on just this chapter for an entire year and still not glean all there is to learn from it.
How about you? Was it as convicting to you? What a radical way of life Jesus has laid out for us! When we treat enemies kindly and when we don’t hit back harder than we’ve been hit—we stand out in the crowd. We are noticed because of our kindness and our confidence. Only by God’s grace can we do these things. But when we do follow Jesus’ pattern for living, we will be blessed.
My verse: Matthew 5:47 “If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.”
My response: The distinctive of a Christian is the extending of love and kindness to all—just as God “gives sunlight to both the evil and the good” (vs 45). My life should “shine out kindness” on everyone—even the least loveable. Oh Lord, help me to be this kind of kind!! Only with Your help, dear Lord. Please help me. I want to be a light for You in a dark world in need of You.