“Be Perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48 Is this one of those verses that you just ignore because its overwhelming? What on earth is Jesus talking about? Join us as we unpack this to see it is really a beautiful promise for how God wants to work in our life.
6 World-Changing practices of followers of Jesus
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus teaches about our identity, destiny and daily living. Soaking in our identity found in the beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12-who we are in God’s eyes and what God is doing graciously on our behalf), transforms us towards a destiny of being salt and light with a radical righteousness (Matthew 5:13-16), that is walked out in our daily living. In the daily living Jesus gives his followers transforming practices to walk in that break vicious cycles of sin and release more of the Kingdom of heaven on earth. These practices are not something to be mustered up in our strength or a set of rules to follow. They are possible as we take a step of obedience to say “Yes” to God and are empowered by the Holy Spirit through soaking in the reality of how God relates with us.
1. Pursue Reconciliation
“…Everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment…So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift…” Matthew 5:21-26
Vicious cycle: Anger
Transforming Practice: Pursue Reconciliation
It is more important to Jesus that we work on reconciling broken relationships than go to a worship service angry with others or them at us.
2. Seriously Fight for Purity
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away…” Matthew 5:27-30
Vicious cycle: Lust and its fruits
Transforming Practice: Seriously Fight for purity
Don’t fight a fire-breathing dragon with a spoon, learn how to pack an arsenal of weapons!
3. Value Marriage as God does and Invest in it accordingly
“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery…” Matthew 5:31-32
Vicious cycle: Divorce
Transforming Practice: Value Marriage as God does and Invest accordingly
God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy through serving and sacrificing for one another.
4. Speak Truth and Walk in Integrity
“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you…simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’, ‘No’…” Matthew 5:33-37
Vicious cycle: Lies and Deception
Transforming Practice: Speak Truth and Walk in Integrity
Living with integrity is a key structural material with which God builds His Kingdom in and through you.
5. Resist evil without doing evil
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist the evil person. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also…” Matthew 5:38-42
Vicious cycle: Vengeance
Transforming Practice: Resist evil without doing evil
This is not a call to be passive but a call to creatively, actively resist evil without resorting to evil. Otherwise, when does the chain reaction of vengeance ever end? Who is going to stop the cycle?
6. Love your Enemies with undeserved goodness
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven…” Matthew 5:43-47
Vicious cycle: people’s love and goodness extends to those like them or those whom they like.
Transforming Practice: Love your enemies with undeserved goodness
Like God does with us, don’t seek to give enemies what they deserve, turn enemies into friends through overwhelming them with undeserved goodness.
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