MATTHEW 5:44_But I say unto you, love your enemies…
Jesus continually points out love as an action.
Love requires dedication.
Love requires courage.
Love requires grit to accept rejection, but not be defeated.
Love requires faith in Jesus’ radical teachings to work.
If love requires all this of me, I want my love to go to the one of my choosing. The object of my affection. Here we go again! Jesus messes with my heart and mind when He says love my enemies. I don’t want to love my enemies! They are my enemies! I don’t like them! They cause me pain and suffering. They cause people I love pain and suffering. If God won’t let me seek revenge on them – at least let me hate them!
Besides, there is another problem – I don’t know how to love them. It doesn’t come naturally to me to love people who hurt me or people I love. Jesus asks too much.
In all my moaning and groaning, I use the key (the Bible). It unlocks my spirit, then I can trust in Philippians 4:13 (KJV), “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Lord Jesus, I don’t know how to love my enemies, help me. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ strengthens me—I can achieve anything with Him!
MATTHEW 5:42_and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
When Jesus sent out the disciples with no luggage, only trust, the result was a major boost of faith. Transformation took place in the disciples’ hearts. Strong faith does not develop just by reading or listening to Jesus’ teachings.
Luke 22:35 (KJV), “And he [Jesus] said unto them [disciples], When I sent you without purse, and script, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.”
The disciples returned stunned! They gained great faith. They were filled with joy.
Action is a process. As the disciples saw their needs met, their faith increased. The greater faith allowed them to teach and heal. This action required something totally radical of them. To completely trust in what Jesus taught. Even when what He taught them was topsy-turvy. It worked. Not only did it work for the disciples, it worked to bring truth and healing to the recipients.
Turning the other cheek, giving more than is required, going the second mile, giving to those in need, all require to put others before yourself. And to obey Jesus.
This is more than feeding the hungry, or healing the sick. This is loving the unlovely, and forgiving the undeserving.
Blessed Savior, I want to live my life in a way which shows faith by action. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ lived a selfless life—I want to learn how!
MATTHEW 5:40_And if any man will sue thee at law, and take away thy coat…
If there will ever be any kind of goodwill toward man in this life, it will come from Jesus’ crazy teachings about not fighting back. The reason? God’s power is released into your life when you have faith. Faith in the strength of God’s love to fight your enemies for you. Jesus has taught you not to seek revenge and not to slap back.
Check this one out:
Someone sues you. You are in the right. You tried, but were not able to settle out of court. The case goes against you – strongly against you. In other words, you lost all your savings! Now you have big money problems.
This is not easy to take, even if you were in the wrong. If you were in the right, it is heart wrenching. This can result in something worse than your money problems – the bondage of bitterness.
Bitterness, unforgiveness, and grudge-holding bind. Bitterness bondage chokes your spirit, contaminates your salt, and puts out your light.
The money problems place a painful curb on your life. The bitterness places a curb on your heart, and its ability to love.
Jesus becomes The Great Healer. He offers a radical cure.
Great Healer, I need Your help so I am not bitter when I am treated wrongly. I need Your wisdom to know how to respond. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ’s love holds no grudges—He will teach me!
MATTHEW 5:24_first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
Be reconciled! Even if you never perpetrated a wound but feel the devil may have caused someone to misunderstand. Explain in detail, perhaps even in writing, if that will diminish the devil’s power.
This is not about political correctness. It is not about agreeing with something that compromises your faith and convictions in order to please another person. This is about genuine repentance and grief. This is about expressing shame for your anger, or attitude, or theft, or for whatever you are guilty.
If you stole something – repay it. Depending upon how serious you are, repay more than you stole. You are not obligated to do that by the letter of the Law, but perhaps by the spirit. If the one you wronged has deep unforgiveness toward you, that might light their way to forgiveness. If needed, work out a payment plan – but whatever you have to do, do it!
If earthly possessions are in any way holding you back from being reconciled with someone – you are in bondage. Give your gift to God and live free. You can never out give God. Whatever you give to, or sacrifice for Him – will return with interest.
True God, Give me a willing heart and teach me how to use it for You. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ wants me reconciled—I will do my part!
MATTHEW 5:11_Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you
Jesus is consistent to connect blessings with eight characteristics. Christians call these characteristics beatitudes. If you’re going to have an attitude, have a beatitude!
The result of each characteristic is to be blessed, translated as happy, or fortunate.
These are not earthly blessings given by earthly people (who could also take them away). These are spiritual, supernatural blessings. Nothing in this life can take away the love, joy, peace, or faith which comes from being blessed by God.
What does it mean to be reviled? It is to be harshly criticized. To be spoken to in great anger. It is a painful experience stinging long after the verbal abuse.
As in the previous teachings, Jesus does not say we will be blessed if we are reviled for dishonest, immoral, or deceitful behavior. The blessings of Jesus’ promises are for the pain experienced for doing what is right and being reviled for it.
There are examples of people in the Bible who experienced just that. The prime example is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy Christ, Thank You for teaching me the truth through the Bible. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ was reviled for the truth—May I be as strong!