The last two days I have been meditating on whether I truly know Jesus’ love in my heart or whether it is mainly intellectual. This morning I imagine I am sitting at Jesus’s feet like Mary, looking to Him and listening to Him.
“ Some days you are like Mary – able to focus on Me and my love flowing out to you. Receiving everything I want to give you, other days you are more like Martha bustling around – busy with this and that in your mind. You, like all other people are a human being with changing emotions, depending on many things. Now know this I am not like that, my love is constant – it does not depend on how I feel about you – my love is fixed. It is present and focused on you to the maximum – held to you like the power that holds the atom together. When you feel any doubt, remind yourself of the many faces of My love, but start with Me giving My Son Jesus for you – for you on the cross – that is the ultimate sign – stop and meditate on that fact and let your soul rest in it.“
I want to stay with the law a bit longer in Matthew 5:21ff. The law plays such a huge part in the lives of many people. On the one hand there are those who believe, for whatever reason that to be accepted by God they simply must obey the law. “I live my life by the sermon on the mount,” they may say. To them Jesus says “You want to satisfy my demand from you? Then, ‘Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect'”. To a greater or lesser degree such people then spend their lives in bondage to the law, trying to reach that standard. There are many forms of this, especially in the Western world which is post Christian and people are third and fourth generation “Christians”, who have had some exposure to “Christianity” without the real gospel. There are tens of 1000’s who stream to church on a Sunday who fall into this category.
Then there are many real Christians, as we have seen in Galatians, completely devoted, who, having been saved and having received the Spirit by believing, they nevertheless fall back into a life of trying to please God by obeying the law to perfection, but in their own strength (cf Galatians 3:1-5). This often follows their conversion because of soft teaching, which does not explain the gospel clearly or just not maintaining a living relationship with the Lord, through the means of grace He has given us.
It is a fact that every human being craves affirmation. There is only one place where one can receive full affirmation and that is in the love of God. John tells us that Jesus prayed in John 17:23 (last phrase of that vs) that ultimate obedience would result from Christians understanding that God has loved each one of us, as much as He loved His own Son. “You loved them even as you have loved Me”. That is surely the greatest affirmation one can get. The challenge is to believe it, every day and not try to seek more by our behaviour or what we say.
So do we ignore the law? Of course not. It reveals God’s very own heart and desire for us. What is necessary is to have the right perspective. The desire to obey the law flows from a realization of God’s infinite love for us. We respond to this love by walking in the Spirit Gal 5.16. Following His guide through the word and responding to His Spirit within us.
So as I worked through these vv of Matt. several challenges came to me on a personal level: 1. Not saying anything derogatory about anyone. 5:22
2. Not resisting an evil person. 5:39.
3. Giving to the one who asks and not turning away from the one who wants to borrow from me. 5:42.
4. Loving my enemy. (My neighbour has gone out of her way to be obnoxious and aggressive towards me. God has surely allowed this to test me). 5:43.
5. Greeting and being cordial to everyone even to those who seek to harm me.5:47.
I suppose the biggest challenge is to just keep living the gospel and all that entails.
Next time lets look at what Jesus tells us in the next chapter about prayer.