40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 7 – Bible Study

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43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48)

Yesterday we saw how Jesus upholds the high standards of the Bible.  Today we will consider what we are supposed to do with these high standards.  As a reminder, our theme for the 40 Days of Discipline this year is: Be like Jesus.  For our Bible study week we are focusing on the mind of Jesus as we explore His thoughts about the Bible.  During the time of Jesus the Old Testament was the Bible.  Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount provides excellent insights into what He thought about the Bible and also what He thought about how some people interpreted the Bible.

Today’s passage is from Matthew 5 verses 43 – 48 (please see above).  Please prayerfully read and reflect on the passage and answer the questions below.

Today’s Questions:

  1. Based on the passage, what is the standard of behaviour expected of us?
  2. How is it possible for us to do this?

14 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 7 – Bible Study

  1. 1. Based on the passage, what is the standard of behaviour expected of us?

    In this passage the standard of behavior expected of us is to “love our enemies” and furthermore, “pray for those who persecute you.” We are called to step beyond what comes easily to us (loving those who love us) and to love those who aren’t so easy for us to love. It’s also very humbling when Jesus says that even the tax collectors love those who love them because it shows that it isn’t a massive feat for us to achieve this (and really, who likes being compared to tax collectors?). Instead, we need to challenge ourselves in loving our enemies.

    2. How is it possible for us to do this?
    Practically, this can be difficult to do. And while I don’t have any mortal enemies per se, there are people that. when they are unkind/disrespectful to me, I have some less than savory thoughts about them. Personally, I think I need to reform my “reaction thoughts” and replace hateful thoughts with loving or prayerful ones. I don’t think this means we can’t get upset when somebody wrongs us. But I do think it means that we can’t treat them, or think of them as lesser because of their hurtful actions [or stew in our anger]. Even more of a challenge, it could mean treating them on equal grounds with someone we love [i.e not resisting serving them or engaging with them]. I feel like in this passage, the same language for “loving” is enmeshed with “forgiving.” Both of which can be hard to do with your “enemies.”

    • Amen. God requires us to walk in love. It is easy to love your friends. The challenge is to demonstrate Godly love, compassion,and forgivenesses to enemies.

  2. We are expected to love, especially in situations and for persons that we may feel undeserving of love. It is definitely not easy, but if we allow the love of God to dwell in us, it will become easier to express that love naturally.

  3. When we turn our attention on a child behaviour, we usually can get some idea about how the parents are. As Children of our Heavenly and Greatest Daddy, we are expected to represent Him in a perfect way on earth and show the kind of Dad we have. Just exactly like Jesus did. How we do that? By practicing unselfish and genuine compassion, forgiveness, kindness, patience, joy, humility are some suggestions that Jesus taught us when he was physically on earth. We can actually find a perfect description way at 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.

    Obviously, It’s not an easy task, but it is a daily walk, and all things are possible for us who believe! I pray I can get closer and closer every day to that level of love God is asking me to show, so He can be always proud of his daughter.

  4. The standard is to be exceptional and exemplary..Behaviour that leaves none to point fingers at us.
    By praying asking God for His strength through His Holy Spirit (walking in the Spirit)
    Also daily reading and consuming God’s Word.

  5. Based on the passage, what is the standard of behaviour expected of us?
    Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. The standard is having the heart of our Father in heaven.
    How is it possible for us to do this?
    It’s a minute by minute consciousness that I am by nature sinful – only loving those who love me and bent to curse those who offend me. With that awareness and a desire to please God I lean into His Holy Spirit to help me.

  6. Ouch! I have read this passage several times before but somehow this time it made me squirm uncomfortably. I realise I’m surrounded by persons I genuinely like and so it’s easy to love them and pray for them but God has a different idea. I recently began praying for one of my “enemies” and had to grit my spiritual teeth to do that. Jesus is really calling us to a higher and enhanced calling where he says that praying for enemies should be our natural calling. How do we do that? Supernaturally. After all, He is asking us to be perfect like Him.

  7. I believe the standard expected of us is to treat everyone with respect and kindness. If an enemy for instance needs a helping hand and you can provide it – then do not withhold your hand from him.

    Loving enemies – i.e. people who have done me something particularly reprehensible – I try not to keep the person nor the matter in the mind – this helps bring me peace and avoid sinful thoughts. I practice forgiveness – knowing that GOD forgives my sins – therefore how can I withhold forgiveness from others – when i don’t deserve it myself.

    In maintaining goodwill towards others, it is vital not to be readily offended – in fact I’ve made it a practice to ignore offense – to paraphrase TD Jakes – life is about offense – people offending you/ (and you offending people). So forget about offenses quickly. It touched my heart that Jesus was spat upon, taunted and reviled and he did not react – and he is the son of GOD – this humbles me whenever I react to an offense.

  8. 2. How is it possible – By not REACTING to situations and people but instead RESPONDING. The difference lies in not acting out of feelings and emotions(reacting) but instead out of conscious collective thought, patience and principle based thinking (responding)

  9. Our attitudes towards fellow believers and unbelievers sells us out at each moment. People are constantly watching us to see if we are like Jesus.
    Its difficult to measure up with the standard of Christ, but he has agreed to help us along the way since HE HAS ASKED US TO CAST OUR BURDEN ON HIM FOR HIS IS LIGHT.

  10. We are not only called to love people who are easy to love, but also those who are hard to love.

    The world tells us that it’s okay for us to hate people who’ve wronged us, who truthfully are the last people deserving of our love. Yet, Jesus is saying to turn away from this mindset, and to love those people just as much -maybe even moreso -than those we are inclined to love.

    That’s a difficult idea to turn into action. I think it is possible for us to love those who are not like us or who do not love us back. However, loving people who have wronged us or who have done something despicable is another story. I don’t think that’s fully possible without prayer and God’s intervention in our lives.

  11. I find it so exhilarating to study God’s word and read what other believers are thinking about the same passage. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Like you, I am really struck by the high standards of loving even my enemies and being perfect as God is perfect. In fact, this would be overwhelming except for the fact that He provides the power and He in all perfection represents me before our heavenly father.

  12. The standard of behavior that’s expected of us requires that we go beyond being good, kind, merciful and considerate only to those who are like us or are like-minded. We should reach out to everyone, show mercy to even those whom we think are undeserving of it, in the same way that God sends rain on everyone. If in fact, He sent rain only on the “just” and not also on the “unjust” we would be left with only one or two oases in the world (if any) , no meat, no chicken, no fish, no vegetables , no fruits, nothing! We would not only be undertaking the DISCIPLINE of FASTING but PAINFUL STARVATION!

    We can attain this standard of behavior (or attempt to do so) by aiming to be like Jesus but that’s easier said than done as Jesus is PERFECT, HOLY, SINLESS and OMNIPOTENT, among other attributes. Yet, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, and HE has told us to be holy for He is holy. Sometimes it’s hard, especially when we are called on to have mercy upon murderers but that’s “opening up a can of worms” as the age old debate is as controversial as whether heredity or environment influences us more. So I rest my case. : Discipline Number 12: The Discipline of Restraint.

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