January 27, 2011 — by Joe Stowell
Read: Matthew 5:38-48 (NIV)
If you were to ask me who I am, I’d tell you that I’m a follower of Jesus. But I have to admit, at times following Him is a real challenge. He tells me to do things like rejoice when I’m persecuted (Matt. 5:11-12); to turn the other cheek (vv.38-39); to give to someone who wants to take from me (vv.40-42); to love my enemies, bless those who curse me, and do good to those who hate me (vv.43-44).
This kind of lifestyle seems very upside down to me.
But I’ve come to realize that He’s not upside down—I am. We have all been born fallen and broken. Being twisted by sin, our first instincts are often wrong, which inevitably leaves a big mess.
We’re like toast slathered with jelly that has fallen upside down on the kitchen floor. Left to ourselves, we can make a pretty big mess of things. Then Jesus comes along, like a divine spatula, scrapes us off the floor of our sinful ways, and turns us right side up. And as we follow His right-side-up ways, we discover that turning the other cheek keeps us from getting caught in a brawl, that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and that dying to self is life at its best.
After all, His ways are not our ways (Isa. 55:8), and I’ve come to realize that His ways are always best!
Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
My thoughts: As Christians we will come across times when our faith is seriously challenged. My ways or the Lord's? The Christian life is indeed a life turned upside down because many of the things required of us seem to contradict human nature. Yet God meant them to protect us. He can see our future, He knows beyond the physical. May the grace of God keep all of us and not let any single one be snatched away. He has paid the price for our sins, may we stick with Him even when we can't understand. What is seen will pass away, what is unseen endures. Oh God, I plead for your mercy.