25 Days of December: Matthew Chapter 5

Grab your coffee, this is going to be good!

I’m going to go ahead and just get this out there. I LOVED reading and writing yesterday’s blog post. Seriously, if no one read it, I think I would be OK because I loved digging in and learning with you guys! I told my mom I couldn’t wait to write today’s post! Again, I have no idea what I’m going to write. I pray over each post and ask that my post simply be a venue for God’s message to be spread.

I also want to note: I hope that all of you feel welcome to come here everyday, read and comment! Unfortunately, I have been to many bible studies, groups and even church services where I felt very out of place, misunderstood and that I had no place to discuss or add to the conversation. I NEVER want you to feel like that here or in our Facebook group. The worst feeling is the feeling you get when you are going through a major trial and the one place you feel like you should be able to go for comfort, rejects you or makes you feel rejected indirectly. That will never be my intention here!

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Today, we are going to dive into Matthew chapter 5. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I will mostly be referencing the NIV translation as well as The Message translation, but occasionally I will reference biblehub.com, because it has MULTIPLE translations available and allows for easy deciphering.

Let’s go ahead and list the main points we see in this chapter:

  • You will be blessed when you come to the end of your rope, when you’ve lost what is most dear to you, when you are content with who you are, when you work up an appetite for God, when you get your heart and mind set right, when you encourage cooperation instead of fighting, when you are persecuted, and even when people put you down.
  • You are to be the “salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this Earth.” (Matthew 5:13 The Message) Also, you are to be the “light.”
  • God’s word will go on forever! We are to stand on that.
  • If you show anger towards others, you may as well be guilty of murder. Make peace with your enemies before coming to God with your gifts.
  • Stay away from adultery AND LUST.
  • Say what you MEAN. “You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace.” (Matthew 5:33-37 The Message)
  • Love your enemies

LOTS of goodness in this chapter!

  • You will be blessed when you come to the end of your rope, when you’ve lost what is most dear to you, when you are content with who you are, when you work up an appetite for God, when you get your heart and mind set right, when you encourage cooperation instead of fighting, when you are persecuted, and even when people put you down.

I love in Matthew 5:3 (The Message translation) when it says, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. WITH LESS OF YOU THERE IS MORE GOD AND HIS RULE.” The last thing we feel when we are going through trials, is BLESSED! People must really think we are crazy when we say we are THANKFUL for our trials!?!

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If I hadn’t experienced this first hand, I would have a hard time believing it too. The time that sticks out to me most, was last winter when I was suffering from Postpartum Depression. Talk about going crazy. I thought I had gone mental! Panic attacks, total disconnect from anyone special to me, crying, silence, loss of emotion then back to full emotions all within 10 minutes, suicide thoughts and many others I don’t need to list. The EVEN WEIRDER part though, was that the whole time I kept telling my mom that I was THANKFUL for my experience with this because I knew it was going to help me relate to other in the future. I didn’t understand it and boy did I HATE it 98% of the time. Only God could have made me feel that way during one of the toughest times of my life.

The thing is: how else would I EVER understand what my sisters in Christ were going through (and even more so, those who DON’T know Jesus) if I hadn’t gone through it myself? Sure, I could say the cliche “I understand, it will get better” phrase that we say when we have no idea how bad that person is hurting. I’m not that person. I’ve never been that person. There is a reason God did not call me to be an actress. I am TERRIBLE at pretending! In fact this is the very reason I felt out of place most of my life. I said it like it was or I didn’t say anything at all. I am terrible at fake smiles and fake hugs and showing up to things I don’t actually support and being around people who purposely hurt other people. When my friends were smoking weed in the vehicle, I was the one sitting outside. When friends were having dinner and a couple would be attending along with the guy’s side girlfriend – I wasn’t going. All of this to say: I have to go through something terrible, myself, to truly understand and relate to people enough to make a connection. As an adult, now I can be thankful for that.

Have you ever looked back and realized without “that” trial, you wouldn’t be able to help the person you are helping right now? Have you ever experienced the feeling of just crying with someone because you feel their hurt?

  • You are to be the “salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this Earth.” (Matthew 5:13 The Message) Also, you are to be the “light.” 

I am going to go ahead and be honest here. Up until reading verses 13-16 this morning I had NO IDEA what being “the salt of the earth” kind of person even meant. So I love in The Message translation when it describes it as being, “salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this Earth.” OK, now that makes sense! Another way The Message put it is to be, “the light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.” (Matthew 5:14) To me, this simply means: in a world full of hate, we as Christians, are to be the ones who bring out the good! Instead of responding to hate with hate, we respond to hate with LOVE.

How else would anyone feel a pull towards wanting to know the Lord? People who did not grow up around The Lord, had no one to lead them to the Lord or even grew up in a country that BANNED any such things……how could we lead them to our loving God? Through LOVE. It goes back to the need to feel loved and accepted that we talked about yesterday. That is an instinct humans have and if we feel that someone loves us unconditionally, we are likely to draw near to that feeling.

  • God’s word will go on forever! We are to stand on that.

I think a lot of days we go after the things of this world as if that is the ultimate goal. Kristian Bush brings up a good point in his song Trailer Hitch. Ever heard the song quote, “Never seen a hearse with a trailer hitch?” We won’t be taking the things of this world with us after we are gone, the only thing that truly stands the test of time will be God’s Word. We must cling to that when we are tempted to choose THE WORLD over THE WORD.

  • If you show anger towards others, you may as well be guilty of murder. Make peace with your enemies before coming to God with your gifts.

I am as guilty as anyone! Man does it feel good sometimes to just be mad at someone. Our need for revenge is running rampant during times of hurt and loss. I learned a very hard but necessary lesson in this department, as well.

I had my differences with a friend of mine (during my postpartum depression days) and it was causing some hate and anxiety. Along with that, I felt left out and rejected as I thought about all of the things that were being said behind my back. We didn’t talk for quite some time and my anxiety grew deeper.

The climax point came one evening as I was on my way to a bible study we both attended. My sweating palms and racing heart were trying to tell me to stay home and avoid the situation all together but God was whispering to me the whole drive and I knew that I needed to go. We did our study as usual, my heart flip flopping the entire time. At the end it was time to do our prayer together as we always did and what do ya know…..I ended up right next to her and had to hold her hand. God, really?? We took turns randomly praying for the previously mentioned prayer requests and I felt a major tugging on my heart to pray for her. Pray FOR HER. I’m getting feelings of anxiety just talking about it! Heart pounding, palms sweating, voice quivering….I did it. I will NEVER forget it.

Then much to my surprise, another member of the group piped up and started praying for forgiveness for gossiping about our fellow bible study members! OH MY GOSH, I thought. What a learning moment for me. Not only did I experience a lightening of my load by praying for the person causing my anxiety but it had also freed up other members by opening up the door to prayer for gossiping. I knew right then, that the other members listening to me praying for my enemy opened their own hearts. They no longer saw me as the person who was being talked about. They saw me as a Jesus lover who makes mistakes. Being humble has its rewards.

  • Stay away from adultery AND LUST.

This one may be hard for us. A lot of us growing up in a time where half naked images are EVERYWHERE. Magazine covers, billboards, online and even in store windows as we walk our children through the mall. Movies and TV shows picking attractive men and women and making their character EXACTLY what we would want in a mate. This sells. And WE BUY IT. In our defense though, how would we know any different if we weren’t digging into the word? Our eyes are constantly bombarded with perfect images. ALL THE TIME. In fact, I have heard in many of my business classes that, “advertising is no longer as effective as it used to be because our generation has tuned out ads due to the frequency in which we are exposed to them.” It takes something very eye catching or surprising for us to notice an ad these days. INSERT HALF NAKED PICTURE.

So, what is my point? My point is: scripture tells us that LUST is just as bad as adultery. With these images and people available to us as easy as a text or Snapchat away, we HAVE to be very careful about what we expose ourselves to. Looking at a man or woman with lustful eyes is just as bad as committing adultery.

Matthew 5:28 in The Message says, “Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body.”

We live in a world that says marriage is disposable. If we don’t like what we have, we can get rid of it and get a new one, and fast. Our selfish emotions that tell us we need to feel loved and we deserve to be treated better and things will always be a fairy tale……those are the same feelings that tell us it’s the other person’s fault and we need to find a better one. I’ve been married 2 1/2 years. I had 2 children before marriage and a year ago the word divorce got brought up, out of MY mouth. This lesson does not come easy to me, either. Let’s be different. Let’s be the ones who FIGHT (fights are NOT easy) for our marriage and our morals. Let’s make a change.

  • Say what you MEAN. “You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace.” (Matthew 5:33-37 The Message)

Back to the being fake. I have been oh so fortunate to grow up in a Christian upbringing where being fake was not how it was done. We didn’t attend church because our friends did or feel guilty if we missed a Sunday. We read the word and discussed with others and sometimes even had to question what we were being taught. We weren’t satisfied with a church that didn’t satisfy our hunger and looking back on history; the world changers weren’t either. It’s so easy to just slide through our weeks only thinking about God on Sundays, throwing on our best dress, pasting on our best smiles and hoping that gets us to heaven. Although, it may get us to heaven……it may not get us the rewards we were hoping for. I may not be popular for thinking this way, but again, most of the world changers weren’t either.

Have you experienced scenarios like this? Do you sometimes wonder if you are the only one who sees what you see? Do you sometimes feel like you are swimming upstream?

  • Love your enemies

As hard as it is and will continue to be for the rest of our days here on Earth, we must try our best to love our enemies. I love in The Message translation, Matthew 5:38-42 when it mentions, “If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it.” What will our enemies gain if their tactics don’t work on us? Certainly not the revenge or reaction they were hoping for. It’s not much fun to be mean to someone who doesn’t give you the feeling of power you were hoping for. Think about bullies. Most times, why do they bully? They do it because they want to feel empowered, looked up to or accepted.

I want to end today’s discussion by having you view this video:

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “25 Days of December: Matthew Chapter 5

  1. Love this! I love how God, though His Word, gently convicts me and yet offers hope and forgiveness when I acknowledge my failures! And the video at the end…wow! Just what I needed as I attempt to create that positive “education environment” for my children!

    Liked by 1 person

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