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Gleaning from the Heart of Jesus

The Call to Surrender {{Week 5}}

Welcome, friends!

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The Scriptures – Matthew 5:38-39; Proverbs 20:22, 24:29

You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye must be put out for an eye. A tooth must be knocked out for a tooth.’ (Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21) But here is what I tell you. Do not fight against an evil person. Suppose someone slaps you on your right cheek. Turn your other cheek to them also (Matthew 5:38-39, NIRV).

Don’t say, “I’ll get even with you for the wrong you did to me!” Wait for the Lord, and he will make things right for you (Proverbs 20:22).

Don’t say, “I’ll do to them what they have done to me. I’ll get even with them for what they did (Proverbs 24:29).”

Devotion

Have you found passages you struggle to really understand in the Sermon on the Mount yet (Matthew 5-7)?

For myself, this is one of those Scriptures I wrestle to understand. There is just something about this passage. We are faced with what we really believe in moments like these. Vengeance versus grace.

Today, I am reminded of the strength shown when we made decisions against our pride’s preferences. It takes a strong believer in Christ, to allow an evil person to have what looks like the upper-hand (at least momentarily).

We must take our faith and put it into action, as we read passages like these. It takes faith to put this passage into action. It is not for the faint of heart. Why? It requires us to fully surrender everything to Christ. It requires us to leave everything we are and possess at the foot of the cross. It requires us to deny ourselves and to take up our own cross, just as Jesus taught us to do (see Matthew 16:24-26).

In these moments, we are faced with what we truly believe about Jesus Christ and the call to surrender everything to follow Him.

In moments such as this one in our Matthew passage, we have to remember who it is we are living for. The One who has given us His full armor. Custom built armor for our very difficult circumstances. When we wear the armor of God, we can fight well through the love of Christ.

His armor and protection is exactly why I can make different choices, when met with attacks and suffering. It is only because of Christ, that I can have the strength to not retaliate. It is only because of Christ, that I can overcome evil with good – rather than adding even more evil to the world.

We each must make the choice to follow Jesus one baby step, at a time. It is only as we follow Jesus, that we can conquer evil – and through His love and grace.

Christ is far greater than anything or anyone we could meet or face, and we need to keep allowing Him to be the Greater in our lives.

Lord God, Help me to carry my cross. I pray You would remove the anger and strife in my spirit. Remove all desires to be ‘right’ or issue ‘pay back’. Help me to let You be far greater! Keep helping me, my Father. I need You to do what only You can do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Prayer

The Gift of Prayer

In this world, we will face hurt. We aren’t exempt from hurt or pain, but we are promised a Healer. His name is Jesus, the Christ! And we have a blessed gift that none can take from us, as believers in Christ Jesus: the gift of communicating with God through prayer. Jesus is our mediator and our way to the Father. We can freely go to the Father, bringing our every care to Him. There are many things weighing us down. Where are we turning?

As we call out to God, asking God and sharing with God our sincere hurt that we face in this world, we need to remember some specific truths.

  • Those who have God’s help are called blessed!
    ‘Happy are those who have the God of Jacob to help them and who depend on the LORD their God (Psalm 146:5, GNB).’ 

  • Our hope is in God alone!
    ‘The psalmist encourages us to put confidence in God. We must hope in the providence of God for all we need as to this life, and in the grace of God for that which is to come. The God of heaven became a man that he might become our salvation… He grants deliverance to captives bound in the chains of sin and Satan… (Matthew Henry Concise Commentary)’
  • The Lord lifts us up!
    ‘What a vast company of these human experience has ever furnished! The burden of care, the weight of responsibility, the crushing power of sorrow,—these are ever at work to recruit the ranks of the bowed down. But it is the Lord’s special office—an office to the fulfillment of which not only the psalmist here, but myriads of God’s people in all ages, bear their testimony, to raise up them that be bowed down (Pulpit Commentary).’
  • He watches over us!
    ‘The Lord preserveth the strangers. God’s goodness leads him not only to protect the righteous, but also to lend his special help to the weak and afflicted classes. “The stranger, the fatherless, and the widow” are constantly mentioned in the Old Testament as peculiar objects of the Divine care… He relieveth the fatherless and widow (Pulpit Commentary).’ 
  • He upholds us!
    ‘[H]e relieveth the fatherless and widow; in their distresses and troubles, who have no helper; a wonderful instance of his relieving a widow, in the most disconsolate circumstances, we have in raising the widow of Nain’s son to life, and restoring him to his mother…[He] will and does come and visit them, relieve and supply them with everything convenient for them; though his church here on earth may seem to be as a widow, he being in heaven at the right hand of God, yet he cares for her in the wilderness, and provides for her support, where she is nourished with the word and ordinances, and will be until he comes again… (Gill’s Commentary)’

Finally, as we remember these key truths, cry out to God – knowing that God reigns! He reigns over all things! He is able to handle all things we face in our lives. He is able to handle all hurts we experience in this life. He is able to handle all the injustices. He is able to handle everything. What is stopping us from bringing it to Him in prayer through faith in His Son Jesus Christ?

See Psalm 146:5, 8b-10