The passage for today is Matthew 5:1-48. You can read this passage online or on your phone by following along with The Essential Jesus reading plan on bible.com, or you can read it in your physical Bible. Take a few minutes to read Matthew 5:1-48 carefully, inviting the Holy Spirit to speak to you as you read.
What did you see in the text? What is the main point being communicated? Here are some of the things that I saw.
Jesus preaching and teaching the truth. These verses, and many to follow are ones that practically address things in real life that still happen today. Obedience, murder and anger, adultery and lust, divorce, promises, retaliation and conflict. Jesus doesn’t give an out in any of these situations. He doesn’t give a sympathetic, ‘Oh, don’t worry, we all make mistakes, just try harder next time’ or ‘It is just part of human nature, it is okay, that will pass’. No, Jesus calls sin for what it is, sin. Not only that be he escalates things that seem harmless.
Look at what Jesus said, ‘But I tell you, anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment’ or ‘anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart’. These statements had to rock the world of the people listening, equating anger to murder, and lustful looks to adultery; these were sins punishable in that culture by death. All through this teaching Jesus is teaching people a better way to live, and it isn’t like the world.
There is too much in this passage to address all of it here, but each of us surely was challenged by one of the things Jesus taught. Maybe anger and temper are your weaknesses, or you are caught up in lustful thoughts. Or maybe it is one of the other things He taught that you feel the Holy Spirit convicting you of right now. Whatever that might be, write it down. Be specific, don’t give yourself an out here, God knows, and He wants to help. Then mourn, be meek, hunger for righteousness, be merciful, purify your heart over this thing. God will comfort you, you will inherit the earth, you will be filled, you will be shown mercy, you will see God.
God didn’t send His son to die for us so we can keep on sinning. And when we live with unconfessed sin, it keeps us from intimacy with God. So seek God now for a change in that area of your life that the Holy Spirit is laying on your heart through these words spoken by Jesus. And be changed.
Father, forgive me, for I have sinned. I confess that I _________________, and I do so out of my own flesh and not in the Spirit. Have mercy on me and wash me again with your presence and your love. Empower me by your Holy Spirit to sin no more, and when I do, may I quickly be convicted by Him and turn to you. I want to see you, I want to be comforted by you, I want to be filled and I want to be called a son of God. Thank you that you clearly show us how you would like us to live in your word, help me to meditate on your word day and night and not to forget your statutes. Amen.