It’s Not the Easy Way

APRIL 24

MATTHEW 5:43_Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy.

How “it hath been said,” is your natural inclination. Love who you like, and hate who you don’t. That’s as natural as heat in summer. I won’t say it’s the easy way, because neither of these emotions is easy. Between the two, hate may be the easier. Easy because it is based on self-centered selfishness, which comes naturally. Hate requires no self-sacrifice. Hate thrives on grudge-holding. Just be plain hard-hearted. No open heart surgery necessary.

Hate is deadly. Spiritually, hate places a barrier between your spirit and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Emotionally, it keeps hormones out of sync, fluctuating between rage and depression. Physically, hate is a strong contributor to keep the body from healing itself.

Love is neither natural nor easy. Recovery from The Great Surgeon’s open-heart surgery results in true love. Once you succumb to more of Jesus and less of you, the door opens to The Great Transformer. He fills you with love. You cannot manufacture it on our own. You open the door, Jesus fills you up.

The effects of love in your life spiritually, emotionally, and physically are 180 degrees from the effects of hate.

PRAYER

Loving God, I don’t want to live the easy way. I want to live the loving way. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                             

Christ always loves—He will teach me!

180

APRIL 17

MATTHEW 5:39_but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

If someone slaps you in the face, turn so they can do it again. What? No way! Jesus couldn’t possibly mean that! Where’s the balance?

There are more ways to be slapped than just physical. The pain of words is one – don’t want to be on the receiving end of that unbridled anger. An arrogant attitude is another – treated like you’re less than stupid. In whatever form the slap comes, Jesus has already taught not to seek revenge. Does He say to let yourself be slapped again? That doesn’t make sense.

The teachings of Jesus can be radical – way radical! These law transformations are when Jesus is at His topsy-turvy best. His teaching appears to be wrong, maybe even crazy. A heart that has not been or is not being changed will find them to be just that – crazy!     

Jesus has set a stage. Take a seat and enjoy the show. This is a play about a good guy who is injured by an evil bully. The bully is motivated by jealousy and envy. The good guy’s injury causes hardships in his life. The good guy looks for help but no one rushes to his rescue. Everyone fears the bully.

The good guy’s help comes from Jesus’ 180 degree turn.

PRAYER

Lord of Lords, You want to rescue me from the devil’s evil deeds. Help me make the turns I need to make. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.     

Christ’s love knows when to turn—He will teach me!

How Do the Godly Fall So Low?

MARCH 28

MATTHEW 5:28_But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her…

Just like Jesus’ lesson on the heart connection between murder and uncontrolled anger, now He will teach a heart connection between sexual sins and your ability to live free from bondage.

King David was more than just a God-fearing man. He is consistently referred to as a man after God’s heart. We’ve already discussed the importance of the heart being the center of your spirit. To call David a man after God’s heart is a compliment from God to David.

For all the godliness of David’s life, how he led the Israelites to love and obey God, what is the first thing most people think when they hear his name? Bathsheba, right? A few people may think of Goliath first, but the next thought is, Bathsheba.

Go back to Proverbs 6 (KJV), “33A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away.” It will forever be connected to his name. This is not to be interpreted that God did not forgive. He did forgive, and even promised to always have a descendant of David upon the throne.

How did such a godly man fall so low? He looked … too long. Job 31:1 (KJV), “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”

PRAYER

Saving God, Help me make a covenant with my eyes. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ can help me avoid shame—Praise Him!

Like Nothing Else

MARCH 27

MATTHEW 5:27_You have heard it has been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery;

Jesus is ready for another law transformation, the seventh of the Ten Commandments, thou shalt not commit adultery. All sins bear consequences. Learn to look before you leap. Save yourself the pain of walking contrary to God’s ways. 

Sexual sins produce jealousy more than any other sin. Jealousy, more than any other emotion, produces uncontrolled anger. Uncontrolled anger often leads to murder.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Didn’t Jesus already make this connection? Uncontrolled anger is in the category with murder.  

Proverbs 6:32-35 (KJV), “But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. 33A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. 34For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. 35He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.”

Adultery breaks trust. Adultery breaks the heart – like nothing else.

PRAYER

Living God, Help me learn the importance of keeping marriage vows. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ knows what breaks trust—He teaches me!

Less of You?

MARCH 24

MATTHEW 5:24_first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Nothing in this life is worth the bondage caused by the spirits of darkness. Spiritual bondage is void of light – a place of deep darkness. It thrives on anger, bitterness, hate, and unforgiveness. Spiritual bondage weakens the soul and brings it into despair. Again, nothing in life is worth allowing your spirit, heart, and soul to be in bondage.

Be reconciled. Come in freedom, and offer your gift. God receives your gift with joy and blesses you. As you grow physically and spiritually, your gift will grow, shining in your countenance and in your life. It will cause you to gain wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. Your light will bless all who cross your path – “all that are in the house.”

God possesses the greatest treasure – love. He bestows love upon you – which flows to other people. The more you love God, the more you’ll find you have the ability to love people. The more you love God, the more you’ll find self-sacrifice becomes a byproduct of your life – because you learn to love others more than yourself.

Do you want your life to be more of Jesus, and less of you?

PRAYER

God of Love, I want who You are to shine in my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.

Christ loves me—He wants me to love His people!