How Far Are You Willing to Go?

We call this the Sermon on the Mount, the principles of Christianity and a person truly right with God will display these.  This part is one of the toughest passages we can read about being in the will of God.  It’s not popular to preach about.  It concerns our responses to the evil done to us.  Sometimes it happens because we’re children of God; other times it’s just because of wickedness on the part of the person doing it.  To be honest, I’ve not always responded as I should.  The people who witness our bad responses say ‘see there; you’re no better than the one who did it.’  It’s not usually one person who provokes but they wait until their buddies are around to gang up on others.  No matter how outnumbered you feel, God is a majority.  The Lord said the Holy Spirit will give us words to say in time of need.  How far are we willing to go in being a demonstration of our relationship with Jesus Christ?

Matthew 5: 38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. 41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

I can feel what the people must have felt when they heard Jesus saying this.  He taught something completely different from what the Pharisees taught.  When the priests and rabbis taught the Old Testament, they mixed in their own philosophies.  That’s how the Word got subtly changed and then taught as though it was the Word of God. They were told to love their friends and hate their enemies.  If someone assaulted them they gave it back in kind.  They were ready to throw others over the brink into hell.  Jesus reminded us that sinners need to be saved, each one.  Jesus died for all.  We are not to love, tolerate, or have affection for sin but we are to try to reach the sinner.  They must realize their life of sin and that Jesus is their only hope.  Jack Sprinkle showed me love and told me about my sin even when I mistreated him.  Thank God he did!

How far are we willing to go to please the Lord?  What is the hardest?  Turning the other cheek?  Has it happened to you?  It did me shortly after I was saved.  I was able to keep my mouth shut; young converts sometimes rely on the Lord more.  I don’t know what I’d do now.  I do know that the Lord will help us do what is hard to do.  In our society we are under big pressure.  We’re being put in a corner.  In another year it will be worse than now.  We need to take passages like this now and pray so we’ll be ready.

As part of the Roman occupation Jews were forced to carry the load of soldiers a mile if asked.  Jesus told them to carry it two miles.  Being hit in the face hurts but Jesus said to turn the other cheek.  We have a big Savior who is there to help.  When the first mile seems to be as far as you can go, a still small voice says you can do it.  I don’t understand why we see some people only now and then.  I worry that when cheek turning time comes, they won’t be able to follow through.  The time may come, sooner than we think, that they’ll try to force churches to install transgender bathrooms.  We have to stand our ground. Can we pray for and love others while being beaten down?

Paul said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  That means I can turn the other cheek.  I can go the second mile.  The Lord will give us what to say when we’re put on the spot.  He’ll give us the ability to endure.  He may not put out the fire but he’ll protect us from it.  Look at the three Hebrew children in the fire and Daniel in the lion’s den.  Is their God our God?  Yes!

I don’t know how far I can go but if I trust Jesus he’ll take me farther than I can go on my own.  The time is at hand.  Don’t back up now.  Who knows?  Maybe more of the devil’s crowd will become believers.  We can’t lose for winning with Jesus Christ.  Praise his name forever!

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