Exacting Standards

21 “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. 23 Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. 25 Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent. 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; 28 but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell. Matthew 5:21-30

When you hear about Jesus’ exacting standards, that you can’t just play a good game, it may cause you to throw up your hands. Who doesn’t call someone an idiot for cutting them off in traffic, or for asking a stupid question.

Some of us spend more of our adult lives ticked off by the actions of others than not. Yet, we call ourselves Christians?

Or maybe we haven’t been unfaithful to our wives, but our eyes and minds are always in the red-light district. Maybe you appear to be a nice guy, but you’ve used–stepped on–people to get where you are, and there are bodies strewn everywhere in your wake.

To live with a clear conscience before God and man requires superhuman effort. It begins with the want to, and it’s manifested by living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.

Be grateful and relieved that this exacting inward and outward behavior is possible with Jesus at the helm. Pray always to be more like him. And don’t worry. He’ll give you many opportunities to put his power into action, most likely on your drive in to work.

Only he’ll have to take the wheel!

About Rick Reynolds

You'll find me in the far right hand corner of evangelical Christianity. Been studying the Word for nearly 45 years and counting.
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