Monthly Archives: July 2015

Spiritual Integrity

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear
falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you,
Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by
the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great
King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair
white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than
this comes from evil. ~Matthew 5:33-37

Slowly but surely, I am immersing myself in the words of the Sermon on the Mount. These particular verses, have been an invitation to steep my character in God’s truth, honestly and sincerely. At first glance, it doesn’t seem to be part of my daily experience to swear falsely or to take an oath. But am I truthful in all areas of my life? Are my promises empty and my prayers manipulative?

Clarence Jordan’s commentary on the Sermon on the Mount provides me with several insights concerning these verses:

  • Jesus told them to cut out all the shenanigans and to attach no conditions whatever to their word.
  • Jesus wanted it understood that his kingdom would not consist of a bunch of rules and regulations imposed on evil men in order to make them behave themselves.
  • With him, if a man wasn’t honest on the inside, he wasn’t honest.
  • The Father is seeking those who will worship him in spirit and in truth, for they alone are eligible for kingdom citizenship.

May you and I worship the Father in spirit and in truth, joyfully each new day, with the spiritual integrity befitting of a child of God.

A Greater Love

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. ~Matthew 5:27-32 (ESV)

Throughout the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is describing kingdom living and loving which so often is summed up with Jesus command:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and
with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” ~Luke 10:27 (ESV)

St. Augustine’s prayer from long ago gives us a glimpse of how to love with all our hearts:

Give to me, O Lord God, a watchful heart
which not capricious through
can lure away from you.

Give to me a noble heart
which no unworthy desires can debase.

Give to me a resolute heart,
which no evil intention can divert.

Give to me a stalwart heart,
which no tribulation can over come.

Give to me a temperate heart,
which no violent passion can enslave.

When lust, adultery and divorce are prevalent in our lives and in our relationships, we become isolated from God’s love. We become separated from ourselves, our God, our friends and our family. But the Son of the living God graciously invites us to love others well with these words:

Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this that he lay down His life for his friends. ~John 15:12-13 (ESV)

May a greater love like Christ’s flow freely from our hearts…Amen and amen.