Our student ministry is reading the 4 Gospels in 4 weeks- trying to focus on what the Gospels say. And then how that translates into the “gospel” we tell others— our story of who Jesus is in our lives.
This morning my plan was to do a little catch up. It is Day 3 and I am already behind. UGH! So got my Bible out, and sat down to read 2 days at once. However, as I usually do, I ask God to really speak to me. Not for me to read and see the same old words on a page, but truly to catch something new. So here is the word He spoke to my heart this morning.
I was reading in Matthew 5- the Sermon on the Mount. And these verses really struck a new cord. Verses 19-20 say
Anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
As a sponsor to the youth group, as a mentor to young teen girls, as mother who wants to train her son in the ways of the Lord, this is a hefty command. I felt as if the Lord was saying to me, “Grace, you better know my Word. Because if you are not teaching it as a whole to those who you influence, then you will never be great. And don’t even THINK about watering down my Word.” Well to those words, I honestly thought, “well it is a good thing I don’t want to be GREAT God. Because I don’t think I will ever get this perfect.”
But then I came to verse 20- if my righteousness doesn’t surpass that of the Pharisees, I won’t be in heaven! Again– hefty command, which gave me a repentant heart. Because I do want to be GREAT. Shoot- I want to train to be the BEST.
So this gives me fuel to continue to read, continue to study His Word. Not just so I can teach it those around me in a dgroup lesson, but so that my life has the influence that reflects God and His whole Word.
One last sidenote– the verses that continue in Matthew chapters 5-8 are some of those teachings that I felt that God was saying to NOT waterdown. Things like:
- anyone who is angry with his brother is subject to judgment.
- anyone who looks lustfully at a person is guilty of committing adultery in their heart.
- do not swear on stuff- let your yes be yes.
- love your enemies
On and on it goes. Commands that through the ages teachers of Christ have watered down and even, at times, “set aside” thus making us least, at best, and Pharisees, at worst.
Lord, help me to KNOW your Word. So my life reflects it and my teachings show it.