I have been enjoying What if Jesus was Serious by Skye Jethani. This book is a devotional level reading of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). Jethani has a great ability to communicate profound truths through his doodles and brief reflections. I have had several experiences of being challenged in my own thinking and actions while reading this book.
I was drawn to this book because I really do believe that if Christians tried to live out the principles in the Sermon on the Mount, we would radically change the world. Jesus’ teachings in this passage are so counter-cultural and so seemingly impossible that it’s just easier to say, “Well, clearly Jesus is being hyperbolic!”
Every time I find myself reading these passages of Matthew, I have begun by confessing that I am far from perfect. I am a work in progress. I know that my natural desires run contrary to Jesus’ teaching and I need the Spirit of God to change my heart. If I can admit that I am a work in progress, then I need to also be willing to extend this kind of grace to others. I also ask the Lord to help me see where I have been transformed by his grace in my life.
Lately, the areas I need to submit to the Lord revolve around worry (Matt 6:25-34) and judging others (7:1-5). In regard to worry, I don’t find myself crippled with dread about the world, but I do tend to stress about things that I can’t control. I can’t control who wins elections. I can’t control the economy and how that effects our region. I can’t control other people’s opinions about me. But that doesn’t keep me from worrying about it. But I’m a work in progress.
Christians have a reputation in this world of being judgmental towards people who are not following Jesus. This is not good, but that’s not my particular struggle. I want people to follow Jesus and I desire that people would be set free from life controlling habits, addictions, and sinful behavior. I really do want that for people. When I’m really honest with myself though, my judgmental heart is not focused on non-Christians, my judgmentalism is towards people who claim the name of Jesus. And that is gross. I am asking the Lord Jesus to help me get the plank out of my eye. I am a work in progress.
I ask for grace from Jesus and grace from you. The Sermon on the Mount is the goal that I’m trying to live out. I want to build my life on these words from Jesus, because his teachings are the solid foundation that I need (Matt 7:24-27).