Jesus’ way

th-16

Love your enemies
Pray for those who persecute you
If someone forces you to go one mile, go two
If someone takes your shirt, give him your coat, too
If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also
Give to those who ask
Don’t turn away from those who want to borrow
Return good for evil
Do not judge others
Forgive those who sin against you
Get rid of the log in your own eye so you can help with the speck in another’s
Treat people the way you want to be treated
Don’t make any vows you can’t keep
Don’t worry about tomorrow
Show mercy if you want your heavenly Father to be merciful to you

You may be thinking, “What kind of poppycock is this?” This, my friend, is Jesus’ way. This is true Christianity. If you must measure yourself, measure yourself by these things.

I would dare to say these are the most ignored words by Christians in all of scripture, yet they are the basis for everything Jesus stands for. I have grown up in the church all my life and heard these things seriously talked about maybe a handful of times. Why is that? Because they run contrary to us all. Because no one can hold to these things unless they are born of God. Heck … no one can even want them unless they are born of God.

These are not suggestions. This is not Jesus trying to shock people so He can get their attention. (Jesus doesn’t really mean these things. Oh yes He does.)

Not only does He mean these things; this is rudimentary. This is the real thing. This is true Christianity. This is Following Jesus 101.

Instead, I’m used to: “What’s the Sermon on the Mount? That’s that weird part in the beginning of Matthew that no one seems to understand or pay much attention to.” Or if they do, they explain half of it away.

This is how you know if you are a true Christian.
This is how you know if the Holy Spirit has been born in you.
This is how you can check yourself — by these attitudes and actions.

If these attitudes are not yours, but you want them, keep following and asking the Lord to change you by His Holy Spirit.

If these attitudes are yours, and they are increasing, be glad!

If these attitudes are not the way you want to live, then it’s probably time to get off this train.

Notice how most, if not all, of these things are against human nature? That’s because you have to be born again to have them. You have to be born of God.

This is what you want to build into your life — these attitudes and these actions.
This is what you put on your refrigerator.
This is what you stick to your mirror.
This is what you ask God for.
And in case you missed it the first time, here it is again:

Love your enemies
Pray for those who persecute you
If someone forces you to go one mile, go two
If someone takes your shirt, give him your coat, too
If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also
Give to those who ask
Don’t turn away from those who want to borrow
Return good for evil
Do not judge others
Forgive those who sin against you
Get rid of the log in your own eye so you can help with the speck in another’s
Treat people the way you want to be treated
Don’t make any vows you can’t keep
Don’t worry about tomorrow
Show mercy if you want your heavenly Father to be merciful to you

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12 Responses to Jesus’ way

  1. bobenearSeattle says:

    Excellent post, John.
    Thank you!

  2. Linda from Texas says:

    You’re right – this stuff is hard. After the racial chants by the OU fraternity, the head of the black group on campus, Isaac Hill, was so very gracious in his response – “Meet hate with love.” That’s not the normal reaction these days but a message we all need to hear. Thank you, John, for another good lesson.

  3. Andrew P. says:

    “I have grown up in the church all my life and heard these things seriously talked about maybe a handful of times.” That’s highly unfortunate. I’m glad to say, that’s NOT my experience. We all have a long way to go, but we talk about these things regularly.

  4. I can actually say this was my walk many moons ago, however I do still pray that the Lord blesses my enemies and I still do pray for those who despite-fully curse and use me. Since my experience with other Christians were shattering, I basically built a wall and most of my blessings are blocked and sometimes my anger over the situation can cause me grief. I know righteous anger is okay, but staying stuck in it, is not. Sometimes I believe the Lord drags me along and instead of foot prints I leave butt prints in the sand,lol! I am slowly getting there though

    • jwfisch says:

      Righteous anger cost Moses a trip into the Promised Land. The people in the wilderness complained of thirst. God told Moses to command water out of a rock. Moses yelled at the people for being rebellious and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water came, but God wasn’t happy with the embellishment. We need to let God be God and not mix our human anger into the equation.

      • I gave you my response under your new theory of Righteous anger. Yes, I understand that anger hurts the angered person and can be very destructive, yet look at Jesus’ anger, because He used it for good. Anger can be a useful tool, but if you cross the line towards Vengeance then and only then are you trying to fill God’s position. Because He states this in His word, Let Vengeance be Mine and I will repay for you. Wow wouldn’t you know I have an example. My stepfather sexually abused me and I ran away like state to California (twice) anyhow the stepfather suffered a major heart attack that killed 3/4 of his heart. Did I pray ill towards this man? Nope, God repayed him for the hurt he caused me and it shortened his life. Did he die that day? Nope, but find it funny how my mother who turned a blind eye to the situation told him, that God knew what He was doing! Hahahaha! The woman who blamed me knew the truth!

  5. Peter Leenheer says:

    John this hit me hard in a good way. This is the Word proclaimed straight from the hip. In all its beauty and all its “upside downness”. I am teaching a lesson to teenagers about prayer and how to live the christian life and they need to hear the unvarnished truth. This will be a part of my lessons….thank you. I love your posts, this one had power of persuasion that was mountain moving. Thank you for listening to the Holy Spirit and writing this devotion.

  6. I think there is a difference between personal responses to anger, revenge, vengeance and national/country as in “just war” theory. Thus i.e. Jordan’s response/reaction to their pilot being burned alive is different than a personal reaction to someone who hurts you.

    What do you think?

    • Speaking for myself, I think anger and retribution are very slippery slopes and that love – Christ’s love through us – should always trump anger and triumph over retribution.
      Admittedly, I don’t always personally succeed at what I just stated,
      On the international front, I believe there is provision in Scripture for nations – as instruments of God (whether they believe it or not) – to mete out justice and/or Godly judgement as well as mercy and grace.
      It doesn’t matter whether the nation subscribes to any sort of Judeo-Christian ideology, God has appointed various nations throughout history to be His response to evil.
      ISIS will eventually get their “comeuppance” – but only in God’s perfect timing…

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