|Matthew 5:43–48 (Voice)|
43 You have been taught to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you this: love your enemies. Pray for those who torment you and persecute you— 45 in so doing, you become children of your Father in heaven. He, after all, loves each of us—good and evil, kind and cruel. He causes the sun to rise and shine on evil and good alike. He causes the rain to water the fields of the righteous and the fields of the sinner. 46 It is easy to love those who love you—even a tax collector can love those who love him. 47 And it is easy to greet your friends—even outsiders do that! 48 But you are called to something higher: “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.”
|Jesus taught us that He was ordained as God’s special gift to mankind that would be born miraculously though a virgin; He lived among men who hated Him and ridiculed Him; and He died a criminal’s death on a cross – in spite of having the power to overcome with just a single Word. Let’s remember, Jesus did this for mankind even while men hated Him and was following the evil desires of this world. So consider that kind of love and then read this passage again. Notice in verse 48 that we, who know this Jesus intimately and have surrendered our lives to His will, are called to a much higher calling – to be perfect even as our Savior is perfect.|
|I’m super excited that based on the title you didn’t ignore this devotional, because you knew that you could never attain perfection! Allow me to encourage you today friend, for while you are right in thinking that you could never attain perfection, when we accept the only perfect One, Jesus Christ, and allow Him to control our lives, He places His Holy Spirit within us to mold us into His likeness. When we commit ourselves to the only ‘perfect’ One, and when He fills us with His likeness, and He controls our thoughts and our wants, we become vessels that are used by God. Only then, and by His grace alone, can we ever attain the perfection of God. For it is He who controls us. Jesus wants us to love like Him, including the willful love of those who hate us and despise us. Friends, I truly believe what the Word of God teaches, that the Master of this universe can work through us in all things and cause us to love, even as He loves. Let’s test Him with that today and prove His mighty power. If He told us to do it, then by His grace we have all power and authority to do just that!|
|Lord Jesus, thank You for demonstrating Your enormous love for us that even while we were yet sinners, You died for us, so that we might see the likes of heaven and especially see Your father in heaven. The commands in these verses today sound impossible, but knowing that all things are possible by the God we serve, we humbly place ourselves at Your feet and ask that You guide us and direct us into ultimate perfection, even to love those that despitfully use and abuse us. May Your kingdom come oh Lord, and Your will be done in and through each of us today, for I ask these things in the name of Jesus, AMEN!|
|There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!|
Scripture: Matthew 5
OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)
48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matt 5:48 (NLT)
APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)
At the conclusion of a chapter devoted to telling us how to live a true Christ-like life, Jesus tells us that we are to strive for perfection like the only perfect One – Himself. I feel like there are several things to consider here:
In Character: When we continually sin and just shrug it off to excuses like: “Well I’m sorry, after all I’m just human” or “It’s OK, I know that God will forgive me”or “Well, there’s always another chance for me to try and do this right”, then I believe that we are giving in to being a child of this world and accepting the pitfalls and weaknesses of this world rather than placing our faith solidly in the hands of the almighty and striving wholeheartedly to be like Him. Let’s aspire to be as much like Christ as possible. He will see our sincerity and help us through our human flaws;
In Holiness: In striving to be more like Christ, we will find that love for, and service to others, become a priority in our lives. God showed mercy and love even to those who hated Him and chose to fight against Him. Look at how He healed the soldier in the Garden of Gethsemane. Let’s remember that we are chosen by God to carry His love into this sick world and represent Him in all of our interaction with sinners.
In Maturity: Christ-like maturity doesn’t happen instantly. Just like we expect more from a teenager than we do from a child, or more from an adult than we do from a teenager because of the years of maturing into adulthood, so it is as we study God’s Word, learn more about Him and how we can become more like Him. We should be showing signs of maturing more and more each day. Friends, we don’t mature into adulthood strictly by what we learn in school – we learn it from our everyday living. So it is with maturing as a Christian – don’t depend solely on what you may learn from a weekly sermon. Get into the Word (God’s book of instruction) and learn daily what it is that God is teaching you that day to help you mature in Him.
In Love: We must seek to love others with the same love that Christ loved us. He gave His life for us, while we still hated Him, while we plotted to kill Him, while we spat in His face and mocked Him. We weren’t deserving of His love, yet He gave it all to show His love for us. That’s the kind of love we must have for those that we come into contact with daily.
Christ calls us to rise above mediocrity and be perfect even as He is perfect. When we strive for this perfection we stop accepting anything less. One day we will be perfect, just as He is perfect!
PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)
Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that I serve the only perfect one. My desire is to daily grow to be, or mature to be, more like You in every way. This means that I am striving to also be perfect. This requires my daily time on Your Word and my ultimate desire to overcome the things of this world that will distract me in every way possible. However, I have the confidence in knowing that I serve the only One who could give me the strength, wisdom, desire, boldness and power to overcome the sinfulness of this world and strive for ultimate perfection in You. Please give me a constant desire to be more like You so that others may see Jesus in me and want to also know You. thank You for providing such an example for me to follow and mature in.