Taking Things a Bit Far

But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. (Matthew 5:39b-41)

Come on now. Really? Isn’t that a little extreme? Turn the other cheek and let someone slap you again? Give even more, even when what has been taken wasn’t fairly deserved? Keep on going and going and going, even when you shouldn’t have had to go at all?

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, at least in its basic premise, is widely known by most Christians. We realize that on that day, surrounded by His disciples and hundreds if not thousands of other curious followers, Jesus raised the bar. He demanded a righteousness that surpassed that of the most pious Pharisee, but He also doled out lots of grace, right? 

Hmm. Not so much that day. Actually on that day, He required grace...from His followers, from those who had received such amazing grace.

Fortunately, Jesus’ sermon wasn’t an explanation of how to get into the Kingdom of Heaven. If it were, none of us would be able to enter. But instead this powerful and compelling treatise is a description of the kind of behavior expected of those who are already kingdom bound, those who have accepted God’s grace gift of salvation and set out on their journey with Jesus.

As Christ followers, we are expected to live contrary to the rest of the world, but also contrary to the demands and desires of our own flesh. This is no picnic, folks. This is pure, hard obedience.

How do you do it? How do you turn the other cheek, give more than expected, go the extra mile?

Sermon on the Mount living requires real humility. We have to put others first, realize we don’t deserve anything, lay down our rights, submit to Christ’s authority and the authorities He has put over us, and yield... Yield to Him, yield to others, yield the right-of-way.

The way I see it, the only way that’s going to happen in my life is if I first develop a true and abiding trust in my God. You see, if I trust Him to defend me, trust Him to provide for me, trust Him to bring about justice, trust Him to avenge me, trust Him to take care of me, trust Him to heal my hurts, trust Him to bless me....

then I’ll be able to stop looking out for “number 1” and willingly and gladly give to, love, and yield to others instead.

Do you trust God enough to let go? Do you trust that He has your back? Do you trust that He is good all the time and that He has promised to never leave you? Do you trust Him enough to obey...no matter what?

That is Sermon on the Mount living.

Have you been wrestling with something God has asked you to do because you feel it isn’t fair? Forgive, sacrifice, submit, obey, go further, wait, yield your rights? You can trust Him. Really you can.

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