MATTHEW 5:45_That you may be children of your Father which is in heaven…
If you listen to him, the devil will convince you the Christian life is too hard. No one can keep all these commandments. And there’s doom if you don’t!
The only way to keep from falling for the devil’s deceptions is to know the truth!
Christianity is not about keeping a bunch of laws. It is about a new life with Jesus. Get into God’s family. Be confident that you are a child of your Father in heaven. Ask Jesus into your heart. You’ll automatically receive the bonus of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside you. Any commandment/law keeping is the Spirit’s job.
How does that work?
Remember that open heart surgery? The Spirit changes your desires by creating in you a deeper love of Jesus and His teachings. Love is not about making yourself good. It is about the Spirit producing stronger desires for righteousness, and the desires for unrighteousness losing their grip.
Psalm 23:3 (KJV), “… he [the Lord] restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
How do you get to the righteous paths? God leads you. Why? For His name’s sake!
Father in Heaven, Praise You for leading me where I need to go! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ has the power to change me—He will do it!
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 5:41_And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
The word compel here is translated as to dispatch. To send out a courier. A courier carries messages. If you were hired to carry a message to someone a mile away, but when you got there you discovered they had moved on – what would you do? Would you bring the message back to the one who hired you, or would you keep looking for the recipient?
You were only hired for the mile, and that is all you were paid for. You may never be paid for the extra miles, if you decide to keep looking. All of this takes place in a time before cells, texts, etc. You have to physically hunt down this person.
If you gave your best effort to do the job, it is not your fault the recipient could not be found. This is a case of you being good. If you took extra effort and completed the job – requiring more of your time, and possibly never getting paid, you were doing good.
There is something to see over and over in these teachings – selflessness.
Don’t forget the play. The good guy is going through all these hardships. No one has come to his aide.
Jesus Lord, I want to hear You when You dispatch me on a mission. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ compels me to good works—He will teach me!
MATTHEW 5:40_let him have thy cloak also.
Come on Lord Jesus, there’s radical and then there’s … crazy! I mean, look at the facts:
I lost the case and with it my life’s savings.
I hate it because I don’t feel I was wrong.
I hate it because it will destroy my current lifestyle.
I hate it because it causes a pain in the pit of my stomach.
I hate it because it takes away my peaceful sleep.
Jesus says the remedy for my ailments is to give my enemy more than I’m obligated? No way! That will make me sicker!
Write this out on a card and place it somewhere you’ll see it regularly: My being good does not impress Jesus. My doing good does. The Scribes and Pharisees were good. They knew and kept the laws. They failed to do good by loving their fellow man and leading them to freedom.
The Great Healer’s radical cure requires action. Action that comes from who’s in charge of your heart – you or Jesus?
Holy Jesus, I need Your help so I can do good and not just talk about being good. I need faith to believe in Your radical cures. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ does good—He will teach me!
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. Now 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.
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!