Good morning! Happy Monday! Last Friday, as I began to ponder on the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount (our reading for the past few weeks) the focus of my thoughts was the condition of my heart and the heart of those in the world. I ended with Lord, you are so gracious and merciful to guide us with instructions to change our heart and character.
See, I never read these chapters and verses in Matthew as an application to change my heart, in the past, I only read them as rules to follow. However, as I continue to seek the Lord, he continues to change my heart, mature and mold me to the person He desires for me to be. Will you seek Him and allow Him to continue to change you? Enjoy today’s reading and your weekend.
BIBLE VERSE – Matthew 5:38-42 NLT
“38 “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’[Exodus 21:24, Leviticus 24:20, Deuteronomy 19:21] 39 But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.“
The verses above from the Old Testament are referred to as ‘the law of retaliation’. While the law was written to protect the innocent, Jesus continues to challenge us in these verses to go the extra mile to forgive or keep peace. We are instructed in the Word that the Lord will take revenge and will payback – read Romans 12:17-21 and Jesus’ example is in 1 Peter 2:23 it reads,
“He did not retaliate when he was insulted,
nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God,
who always judges fairly.”
Brothers and sisters, self-control is an art, but when we are surrendered to the Lord, he has a good way of holding us back. Lord, thank you for holding us back from things…and actions that would have created greater pain.
What are the things you need to let go of and allow the Lord to fight for you (e.g., your reputation, family disputes, anger, etc.)? ________
Father God, thank you for being such an amazing Father. Lord, you know our heart and yet, you still love us. Lord, you continue to guide us with your steady hand and direct us in the way we should go, and Lord, we thank you for that. Lord, sometimes your instructions seem so hard and difficult, but we thank you for caring enough for us and trying to save us from unnecessary pain and heartache. Lord, continue to work in us. Lord, change us from day-to-day. Create in us a heart that loves you and your word. Lord, move us to act on your behalf as you lead us to be more like you. Lord, let others who see us, say ‘your Father God in Heaven has done a wonderful job raising, molding and shaping you’ or ‘your heart resembles your Father God in heaven’. Lord God, make us more like you. Lord, you know everything, you know every need, you know every fear and every pain of these readers and people in our world. Lord, I ask that you touch them and provide for them in the way that they need you. Lord, heal brokenness and soften hard hearts and heads. Lord, let people see you in us. In Jesus name, amen.
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