This mornings readings convict me. i feel a sense of guilt for my sinfulness. In the New Testament portion, Jesus continues his discourse at the sermon on the mount. The second half of Matthew 5 Jesus pulls no punches.
photo from Leopard Box Club
Like a heavyweight pugilist, he strikes one blow after another into the heavy bag of my heart. He strikes me with jabs directly in the jaw. Then Jesus catches me off guard with a punch in mid-stride with his right fist. He has stunned me, but continues to bob and weave, circling around me, then unloads his best and powerful punch to the face of my heart, where I am down for the count.
I want to thank Keith Pascal for his insight into hitting a heavy bag. but as I observe a fighters' workout. I find it insightful how Jesus addresses his audience in the sermon on the mount.
Jesus is the Ultimate Fighting Champion. His teaching creates a standing eight count in my life. Then as I reflect on its impact in my life. I continue the bout and next thing you know, I 'm on the canvas, mouthguard dislodged, and portruding from my lips like a damaged straw.
I take liberties with this analogy to make the point that God's Word brings to my attention my sinfulness. I used to view this process of convcition as merely a guilt trip. But now as I mature in the Lord, I discover it as a catalyst for deeper commitment to God. Rather than immobilze me, guilt can motivate me to adjust my life to God's standards. With His help, I can improve. Conviction of sin can lead to full devotion. I want to be fully devoted to God.
The knockout punches in this passage are lust, integrity (when I say yes, then follow through, or when i say no, then stand firm), generosity (even when it feels like you are being taken advantaged of--give to the one who asks you), and friendliness (greet everyone, not only the ones who you know).
So I will protect myself from lust. I will keep my guard up against a lack of integrity. I will counter-punch to be more generous. I will bob and weave by greeting everyone I meet. May God speak to you as He speaks to me.