I was reading the Sermon on the Mount today (Matthew 5-7) and kept thinking about how counter-cultural everything was that Jesus said! He spoke in such a way like he was not bound by the world’s ways. It’s crazy! Then all the sudden it hit me like a ton of bricks. The way this man Jesus was preaching in Matthew 5-7 sounded a whole lot like my husband! He’s so unconcerned with prestige or with pleasing people. And he’s so able to call me out when I am worried about that. If only we were consumed with pleasing Christ and no one else.
Matthew 5:11-12 NASB
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Well, according to the verse above, if we live like Christ, we’ll probably be insulted. Yet Jesus says to be glad! Because that means our reward is great in Heaven! Do you struggle with that idea? Living for a reward in Heaven? Does it sometimes seem so far off that it may as well not exist at all? Like a child who is told at the beginning of the school year that if he gets all A’s he’ll receive a box of candy at the end of the year? Does it seem like too much work for a gift so far away? Or do you simply trust that the reward spoken of is indeed great, as Christ claims it is here? More importantly, how do you live? Do you live like the rest of the world? Or find yourself longing for the things the world offers? Wealth, health, and success! Or do you live counter-culturally, like Christ explains in these three chapters?
I am finding that the more I focus on myself, the more prideful and self-absorbed I become. Yet the more I fix my eyes on Jesus and think about Him, the more like Him I become. Spend some time today reading through these three chapters in the Bible (Matthew 5-7). Pray and meditate on these words and these Scriptures. Where you fix your attention is what you will become. Choose to fix your eyes on Christ. And pray for me and those you know to do the same! Amen!
This is an excerpt from my upcoming book.