July 8 Daily Pause

July 8, 2020 | Jeff Lee

READ: Matthew 5: 17-20

REFLECTION: Personal stories help us to connect to a speaker. When I was a salesman, I was told by my trainer that "facts don't sell a product, emotion does". If someone can't relate, then they won't buy what you’re selling.

The message Jesus preaches here only has one moment of personal testimony, verse 17, "I have not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it." That one line is the basis for the entire message. Every point in all three chapters of the sermon Jesus preaches is tied to this one point - Jesus is our righteousness. Paul tells us over and over that our righteousness is nothing but Jesus' is everything. The message of the sermon preached that day is this, "Following the rules is not enough." You can keep every law, every rule, cross every "t" and dot every "i" and still have sin in your heart. Because righteousness is not about our actions but the condition of our heart. And until we take on the heart of righteousness that Jesus provided to us through the cross, we cannot please God. They are, as Paul puts it, "filthy rags".

Jesus finishes his point by saying, "Unless your righteousness surpasses the people that perfectly keep the rules, you won't make it. [paraphrased]" Righteousness that pleases God is sourced in one singular command, "Love God and prove it by loving your neighbor",  which is the punchline in the sermon on the hillside. Are the righteous acts in your life sourced out of love for your God and neighbor? What is your attitude when you have to make a choice to do the right thing?

PRAYER: Father, I thank you for your grace in my life and how you are patient with me. Help me as I seek to have more of your heart, to love like you love, and understand that my only source of righteousness is found in Christ. Fill me with your Spirit as all this is dependent on His work in my life.