The Right Track

MARCH 10

MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees…

Jesus is love – true, genuine, unconditional love from head to toe. He is the purest form of mercy. He is grace at its greatest. If Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law, then the purpose of the Law must be love, mercy, and grace.

Make the Bible your best friend. The wisdom from it is far beyond awesome. If you don’t spend time with your best friends – they won’t be your best friends for very long. The more time you spend in the Bible, the more you gain understanding of wisdom.

The Scribes and Pharisees spent a lot of time studying the Law, but they failed to gain wisdom and understanding. Why? The heart. If your time in the Bible results in knowledge which lets you appear better than your friends, your righteousness will never exceed that of the Scribes or Pharisees.

If your Bible time results in your heart breaking from your own sin, and the cruelties of the world, and you want to do something to make the world a better place – you’re on the right track!

 PRAYER

God of Mercy, Please help me learn the Bible with my heart, not my head. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the heart of the Law—He wants it in my heart!                                    

How Is That Possible?

MARCH 9

MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees…

Jesus asks us to compare our righteousness to that of the Scribes and Pharisees. If we’d been trained and educated in the Law to the degree they had, we’d be one of them.

Look closer. Jesus does not want just a comparison. He wants our righteousness to exceed that of the Scribes and Pharisees! What? How can an average Sunday school, church-goer have more righteousness than the educated, religious power-people? 

Can it be that Jesus is not impressed with the Scribes and Pharisees’ righteousness? How is that possible? They were all about the Law, and Jesus just finished teaching the importance of the Law. He taught He did not come to earth to destroy the Law.

Also, He had just taught that to break even the least commandment carries with it a heavy consequence – to be least in the kingdom of heaven! So, why does Jesus not stand in awe of the ones who spend their time teaching and observing it?

Hmm …

PRAYER

Holy God, I want my righteousness to be more than knowledge. Please teach me how to live it. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ lives righteousness—He wants me to do that too!

The Good Guys, Right?

MARCH 8

MATTHEW 5:20_But I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees…

Scribes interpreted the Law and copied it into writings. If anyone knew the laws – from the greatest precept to the least – it was the Scribes. They were not politicians, but did possess great power and expected respect from their students in the synagogues. Because of their knowledge, they would most likely be the first to cringe if a jot or a tittle of the Law were violated.

The Pharisees, also learned in the Law, took more of a legal approach to the keeping of it. They were strong segregationists. They wanted no part of non-Jewish mixing.

These two sects were the primary religious leaders of Jesus’ day. Religious leaders are supposed to be the good guys, right?  If you can’t depend upon them to lead in the right direction, who can you depend on?

There were some among the Pharisees who listened to and developed a heart for Jesus. But oh my goodness, what a sad place to be if you went to most of them for love, joy, or peace. They followed the letter of the Law rather than the spirit.

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, I want to live in the spirit of Your Law. Please show me when I am living more in the letter than the spirit.  In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is true righteousness—He will help me gain that!

BFFs

MARCH 7

MATTHEW 5:19_the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Can you think of a more beautiful reward than to be called great in the kingdom of heaven? It surpasses any honor the world can offer.

To receive this reward means you believe in and teach (by word or influence) Biblical commands. If this were impossible Jesus never would have taught the principle. The road to the reward begins with some understanding of the life of Jesus. The understanding can’t be gained without Bible reading and meditating (dwelling on until you have it in your heart) on what you read. Bible study needs to be filled with prayer. This is what is known as a daily quiet time.

Dedication to a quiet time leads you to become a salty-lit-up disciple. You won’t have one without the other. The Bible, prayer, discipleship, salt, and light are BFFs.

Jesus clears up some of His teachings in the rest of this chapter. His balance of judgment and mercy equaling the fulfillment of the Law gives some understanding. 

Learning to distinguish the spirit of the Law from the letter of the Law brings everything together.

PRAYER

Savior of the World, I want to be great in the kingdom of heaven.  I want to believe that if You said it then it is possible. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ is the Spirit of the Law—He wants to teach me!

An Innumerable Amount of People

MARCH 6

MATTHEW 5:19_and teach them…

Again, Jesus’ emphasis to keep the commandments includes and teach them. Jon Donne’s phrase “no man is an island” is true. There is nothing you can do in life which only involves you. Any decision you make will directly, or indirectly, affect the people God places in your life.

Sometimes those decisions will affect people you don’t even know. If you make the decision to drink and drive, and have no passengers, you may feel that decision only involves you. But if you are involved in an accident with one or more vehicles, suddenly other people are involved in your decision.

Any time you decide to do what is right or wrong, you affect the welfare and safety of an innumerable amount of people. If you make decisions in your heart not to steal, not to kill, not to commit immoral acts – your decisions make the world a safer and better place.

You teach others to do right either directly by words, or indirectly by influence.

The same is true about wrong. Genesis 3:17 (KJV), “And unto Adam he [God] said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it….” Not only were Eve, Adam, and the Serpent punished, but everyone who has lived since that day reaps the consequences of their disobedience.

PRAYER

King of Kings, I want my example in life to be for good. I want to make right choices for myself and help others make them as well. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                          

Christ is my example for good—He wants me to follow!