Testing the Water

“The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart. Luke 6:45 (NAS)

The old country preacher says “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket.” Coming to terms with Luke’s account of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Luke 6:20-45 is an effective way to test the quality of your well water.

First, the “turn the other cheek” approach to evil people (Luke 6:29) departs from my natural instincts. My inclination is to grind them into the ground, to pull no punches, to give no quarter. Where is the response of our Lord and Stephen as they faced death at the hands of evil people, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do?” Nevertheless, if Jesus resides within me, it is possible to “be merciful because he is merciful.” Luke 6:36

Second, Christianity is normally safely practiced in a controlled setting, with likeminded “brothers and sisters” in the church. But as Jesus says, if I love only those who love me, do good only to those who are good to me, and lend only to those who will pay me back, what credit is that to me? (Luke 6:32-34) Enough said.

Third, there’s the preoccupation with specks in the eyes of others (Luke 6:41-42), the constant judgment of perceived motives, and the vocalized lack of empathy, like “ He’s getting what he deserves, or what he paid for.” Even the phrase “there but by the grace of God go I” is pharisaical.

That’s why the Sermon on the Mount is the most radical and convicting message ever preached. You read it and you declare or admit, if you were to be honest, I’m not doing all that!

Here are some instructive words to start the water purification process.

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24

Let your heart hold fast my words;
Keep my commandments and live;
Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding!
Do not forget nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Proverbs 4:4-5

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By keeping it according to Your word.
Your word I have treasured in my heart,
That I may not sin against You. Psalm 119:9, 11

About Rick Reynolds

You'll find me in the far right hand corner of evangelical Christianity. Been studying the Word for 40 years and counting.
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