Root Attitudes

The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), October 2

imagesJesus addresses root attitudes that bring victory over murder, adultery, and oath-making, as well as victory during hardship and persecution.

  • Worship and murder (Mt. 5:21-26)

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment’” (5:21).

Jesus reveals that prevention is the best medicine by dealing with the underlying anger that results in murder. Worship is that prevention. Worship prevents uttering unhelpful and harmful words and prepares the worshipper to “agree with your adversary quickly” rather than stew over grievances (5:25). Stewing over grievances is a fertile womb for murder. Worshiping God alters a person’s disposition from one of anger to one of reconciliation.

  • Mental discipline and adultery (Mt. 5:27-32)

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not not commit adultery’” (5:27).
Fantasy becomes reality when opportunity knocks. Ron Dunn elevated the need for mental discipline when he linked fantasy to adultery, “Should God fulfill your fantasy, would that help or hinder you spiritually?” Taking thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ prevents the construction of mental strongholds that lead to adultery. Entertaining unrighteous thoughts allows lust to develop into full blown adultery. Harsh and disciplined action is required—pluck out the offending eye, chop off the offending arm.

Divorce isn’t an acceptable resolution for unbridled lust. It merely compounds the problem and forces the innocent partner to deal with something they weren’t party to.

  • God awareness and oath-making (Mt. 5:33-37)

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord’” (5:33).

Heaven is God’s throne, earth is His footstool, Jerusalem is His city, and man cannot change the color with which his hair grows. Only God has the power, resources, and ability to fulfill what He has determined. Making commitments beyond present abilities and resources is therefore foolish. No man may commandeer God’s resources for himself.

Oath-making is directly linked to the activity of the evil one: “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one” (5:37). Oath-making assumes a position that only God can hold.

  • Humility and mistreatment (Mt. 5:38-42)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” (5:38).
Pride cannot endure injustice, but humility recognizes that, although injustice occurs, it is temporary at best.

  • Prayer and love for enemies (Mt. 5:43-47)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies . . . and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (5:43-44).
Prayer treats enemies as if their souls matter more than slights and persecution. The Son loved and gave His life for His enemies; His children never more reflect His likeness than when they pray for their enemies.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Mk. 3:7-19; Lk. 6:12-36; Mt. 5; 6:1-4):
Jesus first calls men to follow Him, then He teaches them. How does His teaching differ from that of the Pharisees and Sadducees? What contrasts does He make in the Sermon on the Mount?