Today's Word of Encouragement

Intent

Friday, June 12, 2020

    But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matthew 5:28).

     In the days of Jesus, the meaning of the Mosaic Law had been buried under the weight of Pharisaic opinion and tradition, so the people had no real clue as to how God’s Word was to be understood and applied into their lives. They believed they were inheritors God’s Kingdom because they were descendants of Abraham, but how they were to behave in the Kingdom had been skewed.
     God’s Law, given at Mt. Sinai, outlined principles governing the ethical and moral behavior of God’s people. By the time of Jesus, obedience to the Law was the only means of righteousness acceptable to God, or so the Pharisees taught. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus clarified the true intent of God's Law to His chosen people.
     In reading through Jesus’ explanation of the moral and ethical intent of the Law, you might think, “This is impossible; no one can do this!” and you would be right. Can we ignore the moral and ethical principles of God’s Word? No. How, then, can we honor them, especially anger and lust, given the culture we live in today?
     When I was a boy in Arkansas, at the time I was entering puberty, the ‘sexual revolution’ was in full swing and it permeated everything - books/magazines, music, fashion, movies/television, relationships - everything. Did it affect me? Yes. Did I know how to deal with it properly? No. Did that concern me? Yes. I was a faithful Christian, reading my Bible, praying, attending church. But I had trouble controlling my thoughts and desires, and that made me feel guilty all the time.
     I talked to my father about it. His answer was to work me longer and harder on the ranch to keep my mind off of the problem. That didn’t help. I talked to my mother about it. She took me to Matthew 5:27-28. I read it, but didn’t understand it. She gave me an illustration that helped me understand what Jesus was talking about.
     In Arksansas, as dusk began to fall, bats would leave their roost and fly around feeding on insects. Sometimes a bat would fly close to my face, which scared me because I was told they carried rabies. Mother asked, “Can you keep a bat from flying in your face?” I said, “No.” She asked, “Can you keep it from roosting in your hair?” I said, “Yes, by shooing it away.” Then mother explained Matthew 5:28.
     "Jesus said, whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart"(mother used the King James Bible). "The words ‘lust after’ are important. They mean to ‘long for’, ‘dwell on’, or think about something long enough that you want to do it. Now, you can’t keep sinful thoughts from entering your mind, but you can keep them from roosting there." The same is true with anger (vv. 21-26), lust (vv. 27-30), breaking the covenant of marriage (vv. 31-32), making promises (vv. 33-37), and revenge (vv. 38-42). That was a tremendous word of encouragement then, and has been all my life.
     “Father, thank You for my mother who taught me the meaning of Your Word and how I can apply it into my life. Thank You for other people who have been an inspiration to me in living for Jesus, despite this sinful and corrupt world I live in. Amen.”

Pastor Martin

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