Day 33 – 40 Days with Jesus Devotions
“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 7:12
How then do we live? Jesus has spent much of His time during this teaching dealing with how notto live our lives. The rigid, tradition-steeped, external behavior-oriented system of the religious leaders of His day needed correcting. They were so stuck on and married to their traditions that they had lost sight of their original intent or purpose and were not willing to let go even when Jesus offered them a better way.
Jesus now offers the better way. For centuries, a variation of this principle was taught and is found in the literature of almost every major religion. But each time it was given, it was stated in the negative. For example, the Jewish rabbi Hillel said, “What is hateful to yourself do not to someone else.” The book of Tobit in the Apocrypha teaches, “What thou thyself hatest, to no man do.” Confucius taught, “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” And the list goes on.
Those expressions go only as far as sinful man can go, and are essentially expressions not of love but of self-interest. The motivation is basically selfish—refraining from harming others in order that they will not harm us. Those negative forms of the rule are not golden, because they are primarily utilitarian and motivated by fear and self-preservation. As Scripture repeatedly tells us of fallen mankind, “There is none who does good, there is not even one” (Rom. 3:12; cf. Ps. 14:3); “each of us has turned to his own way” (Isa. 53:6).
Jesus turns this conventional, self-serving wisdom on its head and makes it a proactive way of life for the follower of Jesus. It’s no longer what we shouldn’t do; now it becomes a way to showlove to others even though they did nothing to prompt the positive action directed toward them.
Back to our opening statement: “How then do we live?” The following is a quote from Charles Swindoll’s book, Simple Faith.
You want to impact your family…your church…your community…your place of employment? You want to make a difference in the life of your mate, a family member, a friend (Christian or not), some person in the workplace? Demonstrate the characteristics of Christ. No need to drop gospel tracts from a low-flying airplane or display a bright red twenty-foot-square “Jesus Saves” flag over your house. No need to stick a fish-shaped symbol on your car or quote a lot of verses every day to your neighbor or rant and rave against all the ills of society down at city hall. Just take the distilled essence of the Christian message as contained in the words of the Golden Rule and live it out. Morning to night. Day after day. Week after week. Month in, month out. Spring, summer, fall and winter. As the prophet Micah put it: Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. You will be astounded at the impact that kind of simple-faith lifestyle will make.
And when we live by the Golden Rule, it prevents the need for laying down an endless list of little rules and regulations to govern conduct. When we begin living that way we fulfill the essence of “the Law and the Prophets.”
Have a Great Day!