“For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?” ~ Matthew 5:46-47, NKJV
by Toni Birdsong
Transformation is rough. In fact, it’s one of the most gut-wrenching, albeit exhilarating, spiritual overhauls you can experience as a Christian. The whole “death to self” thing can get pretty dicey especially when it’s . . . perpetual.
So what do you do when God’s Truth collides head-on with your personal traditions, political or social leanings, prejudices (those things you call convictions), or your customized value system?
If you are a Pharisee your face turns a pulsating shade of rage, you criticize, make excuses, resist, rationalize, and even call for the death of the audacious messenger who would speak such contrary “truth.”
But Jesus never waivered in the midst of man’s legalistic temper tantrums. Instead, He stood on a hillside and simply laid it out.
In the Sermon on the Mount, (Matthew 5:43-48) Jesus calls us not to hate but to love our enemies; not to just love but to go farthter and even pray for them. He’s calling His followers to do more than what’s common or expected in this world.
To do more than means we bless our enemies and to even go so far as to speak words of kindness and mercy over them, their families, their needs, their businesses. To do more than means that we relinquish our “rights.” More than means we allow a higher love to tame every furious molecule of flesh that aches to retaliate.
Maybe your internal dialogue sounds like this:
You: Seriously Jesus? There’s no way. You want me to love them . . . after that @#$% did that to me? Seriously?
Jesus: Yes, that’s right. Anyone can love people who love them. I’m asking you to do more than hit softballs in your short time on this earth. I’m asking you to die to being just ‘anyone’ and be reborn for My Kingdom. I’m calling you to be and do more than.
God’s loving kindness is what made His message sticky then and is the very thing that still moves men, women, and children to repentance every day. Perhaps this day.
The Message puts Romans 2:4 like this:
In kindness he [God] takes us firmly by the hand and leads
us into a radical life-change.
Being a more than Christian causes the world to stop and take notice—of God’s point of view; of His heart. Being more than acutely changes you for this earth and readies you for Heaven. More than means believing that God truly is BIG enough to bring your small act of mercy full circle and lead someone else—even your enemy—straight into the arms of eternity.
This post was inspired by pastor Steve Berger’s Feb. 20 sermon at Grace Chapel. If you want to be a More Than Christian, we recommend you to tune in and listen to Pastor Steve’s sermon. Prepare to be marvelously miffed.
What action can you take today that will move you toward being a More Than Christian?
Post/Tweet this today:
God is calling you out of the crowd and asking you to follow Him. Closer. #LiveSticky