MATTHEW 5:2_And he taught them…
Whenever Jesus taught, multitudes came. Multitudes filled with variety. The desperate came to find freedom from demonic bondage. We think of demonic possession as something very graphic and frightening, but demons are at the core of hate, unforgiveness, bitterness, and stubborn rebellion, just to name a few.
Some came with hope of physical healing. Perhaps their diagnosis was “incurable.” Perhaps there was no money to pay for a doctor. Whatever the reason, they had heard of the miraculous power of The Great Physician.
Some came out of curiosity. Who was this man that attracted multitudes whenever He spoke? Was He genuine? What kind of magic tricks might He perform today?
Others in the multitude were Jesus’ enemies. Their hope was to find a loophole in His teaching and to expose Him before the crowd.
Jesus had not come on the scene in the usual method. He spoke differently. He taught differently. And what His enemies hated most, He attracted more followers than they.
When Jesus spoke people listened, were freed, and healed.
Dear Jesus, Please teach me to listen when You speak to me through Your Word. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ speaks to me—I will learn to listen!
MATTHEW 7:13_for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction…
Then there is the second gate. Jesus describes it as wide and broad. You won’t need any help finding that gate. It is wide—how could you miss it? When you reach an accountable age, your eyes are opened to two gates; you’ll see the widest one first. The size makes it visible, and … more tempting.
Because of its size, you see something else—how easy it is to enter. The wideness allows you to bring all kinds of baggage.
Not only is the gate wide, but once inside the way is broad. If in the baggage you brought along some pride, there would be plenty of room to add to it—until it becomes arrogance. If you brought just a little bit of a grudge, there would be plenty of room to add to it—until it becomes hate and bitterness.
In Jesus’ words it’s plain – this broad way leads to destruction. Count on it! Psalm 27:11 (KJV), “Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.”
Make the choice in your youth to enter the strait gate. It will save you numerous regrets in your adult life.
God Who Saves, Please save me from entering the destructive path of life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ saves me from the wide gate—I will follow Him!
MATTHEW 5:44_do good to them that hate you…
How can you do good to them that hate you? It may be pretty much the same way you do to those who like you. Begin with prayer. Talk with God. Ask Him to give you an opportunity to do something good to one who has shown contempt toward you.
A good place to begin is to learn their birthdate. If you have their cell number or email just text or mail a simple, “Hey, I heard today is your birthday, I hope you have a happy one.” If you don’t have this information, you may just write a note and leave it on their desk at school.
Keep things simple. Don’t get overly sentimental or mushy with your doing good. They will already feel uncomfortable with your kind response to their obvious contempt. If the devil can convince them to take your good deeds as some kind of plot against them, he will.
Let God do His work. Focus more on listening to the Holy Spirit for guidance, and looking for opportunities which may come your way.
You certainly want to do them good, but this is also going to do you good … just don’t let pride get in the way.
Mighty God, Please give me opportunities to do good to all the people I can. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ does good to all—He wants me to do that too!
MATTHEW 5:44_bless them that curse you…
Are blessings something you only receive? Is God the only giver of blessings? Does God ever use people to deliver His blessings?
Think of some of the people God has placed in your life. Are there ways He has blessed you through them? Have you ever thought that God could bless someone through you? Have you ever asked God to bless someone? Have you ever prayed God’s blessing on someone? If you have, most likely it is not someone who just cursed you, right?
By now you have caught on to Jesus’ pattern. Your curser is exactly who He wants you to bless! Don’t you wonder how they would react if you said, “I asked God to bless you today,” and added, “be on the lookout!”
God will bless your enemy if you ask Him. Even more, He will bless you. He will bless you from the inside out. You trusted in and believed the teachings of Jesus.
Think of people in your life who you feel may curse you. Ask God to bless them. Ask Him often. Ask Him to bless them in ways that bring Him glory.
Wait and watch what God will do!
Father God, Please bless the people who may curse me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ loves to bless people—I pray for His blessings!
MATTHEW 5:44_But I say unto you, love your enemies…
As we have seen over and again, there is an order in which Jesus presents His teachings. If we can get our minds wrapped around the cheek turning, cloak giving, second mile going, and giving away – learning how to love our enemies will come much easier.
The first four guidelines lead us into the self-sacrificing mode. The giving more than receiving mode. The putting others before ourselves mode.
Now we are ready to see how powerful love really can be. After all, if we can love our enemies – we can love anybody!
Why do we even want to love our enemy? Because Jesus said to.
Why did He say to? Because Jesus desires all people to be loved.
We are called to be salt and light to everyone – especially the unloved. There is a reason Jesus called disciples in the first place – to teach them how to live free. They teach and make more disciples. Disciples share the truth with the world through the Bible. Jesus chooses to share His love through disciples.
Get salty! Light up!
Lord of All, I want to be Your disciple through whom You love people. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ chooses disciples—I want to be one!