Thursday, August 4, 2016

August 4 - Matthew 7

Today's reading in our daily plan is Matthew 7. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Jesus concludes his sermon on the mount with the following wisdom:
    • Judgment: Don't do it. It's that simple. This is a huge problem for Christians. We have a reputation for looking down on outsiders for what they believe and how they live. Jesus says no. Judgment is God’s responsibility, so when we judge others we put ourselves in God’s place. Not a good idea. However, Jesus says there is a judgment that we are allowed to do-we should judge ourselves. That's right. Instead of spending time on other people's flaws, we should make sure to remove the flaws in our own life.
    • Seeking God and good gifts from Him: Isn't this amazing? Jesus says all we have to do is ask and we will find him. No gimmicks. Just ask. Why so simple? Because God is a father. And fathers love to give their children gifts when they ask. But be forewarned. It may be simple, but few find him. The way to life is small and narrow. Many miss it.
    • Discernment: We are then warned that there are people who claim to speak for God but don't. And there are people who think they follow God but don't. How can we know who is true? Look at the person's “fruit” in their lives. Do they live the things they teach? Do they truly do the will of God? Jesus says that it is entirely possible to prophesy, drive out demons and even perform miracles in Jesus’ name, yet not know him personally. We must being doing God's will to enter heaven.
    • Applying Jesus' teaching: Most importantly, Jesus concludes his message by telling us to put His words into practice. It does no earthly good to read his words and then not heed his advice. If we listen and follow we will be wise and unshaken, like a house on a rock. But, if we ignore God's word we are a fool who is building his life on the sand. We will crash and be destroyed.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Seek him. When we are busy seeking God, we will not have time for judgment or foolishness. When we seek God, he will answer us. When we seek God, we are able to discern what is truth and what is not. When we seek him, we are seeking his heart and are putting his commands into practice. When we seek him, we are unshakable like the house on the rock. When we seek him, we are unshaken by life's circumstances. When we seek him, we know where our value comes from. When we seek him, our lives will produce fruit that shows we are living in him. When we seek him, we are seeking his will. When we seek him, we will enter through the narrow gate. Seek and you will find.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • What are you seeking today? Your career, bank account, political party, family, church? Be honest. The path to Jesus is narrow, but it's the only path that will get you where you truly want to go. Talk to God about where you're at, and ask Him for faith and strength to seek Him today and to stay on the narrow path.