Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Hard Teachings Of Jesus

I don't know about you, but when I take the time to really study the Scriptures, and not just skim over them, I see that Jesus was to the point. He was direct. He was black and white, and taught right from wrong. He didn't compromise. He told it like it was. He didn't use excuses or even allow excuses to be made.

 Listen to what He says in Luke 6:27-31 "27 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you."

If you actually take the time to read each of His sentences separately and ask yourself if you are doing what He says to do, I think you'll find that these are hard things to do. Why are they so hard? I believe its because each of these statements asks us to act in away that is not natural to us. We are conditioned by the world to take care of ourselves first. To look out for number one. To protect what is ours. To not allow ourselves to be taken advantage of. 

But Jesus doesn't want us to act 'naturally' according to our base instincts. He wants us to act 'supernaturally'. The only way we can act supernaturally is to allow His Holy Spirit to guide us and to be willing to follow His leading. I once read a quote which said: 'no one has ever become poor by giving'. How true that is! The world would teach us to grab and keep everything for ourselves but the Lord teaches us to give to others. He will never see us doing without. He will always provide for our needs. But we need to trust Him. 

We need to trust Him when we want to fight back and instead choose to 'turn the other cheek'. We need to trust Him when someone takes advantage of us and we choose not to demand our rights but to allow them to keep what they have taken from us. Yes, His teachings are hard. We are 'born in sin and shapen in iniquity' so doing things God's way will always seem hard to us. But if we want to be more like Him, we need to go against our 'natural' instincts and choose to do what is the right thing to do. 

I am so glad that God looks at the desires of my heart. He sees what my intent is and He knows that I want to do what is right so He will help me make those hard choices. He will guide me. He has given me His Word to follow as the ultimate instruction book and He will help me follow it. 

There are many people in the world today who will say they're a Christian. But I believe we will know if they are or not by how they live their life. If they live it according to their own desires and their own code of what is right, then they are not true followers of Christ. But if they try to the very best of their ability to follow the teachings of Jesus, then we will know they are a Christian, not just in word but in deed as well. 

Matthew 7:16 tells us that we 'shall know them by their fruit'. Does the world see you living out a Christian life? Or do they see that you are a Christian in name only? Only you can answer those questions. If you want to be a Christian you must be willing to follow the hard teachings of Jesus. 

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