But I say to you, love [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for] your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may [show yourselves to] be the children of your Father who is in heaven; for He makes His sun to rise on those who are evil and on those who are good... (Matt 5:44-45)
These words of Christ really hit home. Our human nature is quick to retaliate. Yet, God asks that in cases of great unfairness, that we should seek the best interest of our enemies and pray for them. Should we not do that they will go lost for all eternity. Our faith is being exercised when we pray for them... by that, our own heart is being protected and we bear witness that we are indeed God's children.
For I say to you that unless your righteousness (uprightness, moral essence) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matt 5:20)
Within modern-day Christianity, there is the slackness, that everything goes. Yet Jesus warns us with these words of Matt 5. He charges us that our righteousness should exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. See they were concerned only with the outward appearance of religion and position. Yet Jesus requires the inside of the heart to be clean. Thoughts and attitudes, dealing with the root of our sinful nature which is rebellion. Within this realm of human nature, we can only overcome through Christ's help. Have you pleaded with Him for his salvation?
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matt 5:11-12)
Our human nature is to react against slander and falsehood. In our reaction, we may cause much more harm to the church than the original slander. God sees things in a totally different light. As righteous people are being slandered and vilified, they are gathering in effect a great reward in heaven. Where your reward is, there your heart will also be.
Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. He is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. (Ps 62:1-2).
This psalm of David provides some insight into his spiritual journey. Being a man after God's own heart, David grasped the mystery of waiting quietly before God. Waiting in expectancy on Him, provided to David with a quiet heart. He had already poured out his heart before God. He had received the promise that God would act in His own time. Trusting his God had become to David his defense. Abraham Lincoln said it so well, "it is not a matter for this nation if God is on our side, but for us to be on His side". The soul that is on God's side has God on his side.
He inclined to me
I waited patiently and expectantly for the Lord. And He inclined to me and heard my cry. He brought me up out of a horrible pit [of tumult and of destruction], and of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock, steadying my footsteps and establishing my path. (Ps 40: 2)
This portion captures the Gospel. David expounds on how he waited patiently, but expectantly for the Lord. Having this attitude of heart, God listened to his prayer and helped him out of his horrible pit of the miry clay. In the ancient days, prisons were built underground. Prisoners were thrown into such a pit, and a stone rolled over its entrance. There in the dark silence, every sound echoed. During the rainy season, the water would cause miry clay, with no sure foothold. David found himself spiritually in such a place, yet he cried out to the Lord. God saved him. What He can do for others, He can also do for those that call upon Him.
Let your light shine!
Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and recognize and honor and glorify your Father who is in heaven. (Matt 5: 16)
Light does its best work in darkness. It is when the world is evil, and a thick cloud has enveloped the earth, that we are charged to shine our light. It is within times of corruption, lies, and deceit that calls every Christian to shine. However, we are called to shine in a certain way... not to draw attention to the brightness of our own light, blinding others, but to provide light for their feet. It is such a light, and the way it is positioned provides guidance to the weary traveler and brings glory to God.
those who see
"at that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and revealed them to infants [to new believers, to those seeking God's will and purpose]." Matt 11:25
Within these words of Christ, we find this mystery; spiritual things hidden from the wise and intelligent. Yet, those believers new in faith grasp these spiritual matters. Perhaps the answer lies with those who seek God's will and His purpose. Those seeking after their own selfish ambition misses the focus needed to gain understanding in spiritual matters. Yet, those new in the faith recognize and discern deep spiritual mysteries as their focus is no longer on themselves but on God's will and His purpose.
Faith expressing itself through love (Gal 5:6)
Faith without deeds is dead (Jam 2:26)
We have a shield of faith against the fiery darts of the evil one. God's word is our sword and those who have girded it on might expect many a battle between heaven and hell. Yet faith is as a lamp given to us, to trust Him in it all.
the inner circle
Lord, teach us to pray - Luke 11:1
There is the high calling of becoming broken bread for others. It is a life were we no longer pray according to our own will, but according to His will. It is a life, that receives constantly and is being pouring out constantly. It is a life experiencing God's olive press, on Gethsemane, so as to provide healing to others. It is those who have yielded themselves over to God in this way, that have become part of His inner circle of his beloved.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)
We are blessed if we know that we are not someone important. If we are well aware of our own spiritual poverty before Him and our need of Him. In such a way, we receive citizenship of heaven.