Journal Matt 5 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’
But I (Jesus) say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But, if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
And, if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you…” Matt 5:38-42
Observation: In reading the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes this sound so logical. But how easy is this if not prepared to reflexively do it?
Application: The section from the ESV.org is subtitled “Retaliation”, perhaps meaning that my natural man would retaliate differently. Looking in the mirror, I can say to myself, “You think?”
Letting myself get beat up, voluntarily giving up my hard-earned goods, working twice as hard and as long by choice…the probable scenario if confronted with laying down my life like this is not giving in to a bully but to fight for my rights.
I do this (fight for my rights) every day—I don’t even think about it.
Fighting for rights is seen as virtuous…it is being a “man”, not something “less than a man.” The idea of standing up for myself and not “rolling over” is what is aspired to.
But is that godliness? Is that what the Holy Spirit wants? Is that being formed in the image of the Son?
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” (Ro 8:29a)
Of course, it is what the Spirit wants. What can be confusing is that godliness and manliness are intertwined. In fact, I could refer to the two as “godly-manliness.”
What isn’t so apparent in living life is understanding that Man, as we know about him today, isn’t so much as an “image-bearer” as he is a “corrupted image-bearer.” I want to do what I want to do way more than I want to do what God wants me to do. Simply put, subjectively I want my way and objectively, because of that, I deserve all of the Wrath of God.
Therefore, I need a redeemer.
Prayer: Father, I remember my own conversion night—the right message at the right time. “Put up or shut up” is how I would summarize that message at Methodist Youth Fellowship. That attitude hasn’t left me…much…ok, I faded in and out for years, but it always came back to “set my jaw and go at it again.”
I appreciate how you continue to push me forward, inch by inch.
Drive your Word into my heart; help me remember.
Ricky Two Shoes