Intro: If we are going to profess Christ, we must choose to accept the invitation he offers to live in his righteousness. Otherwise, he does not know us through an intimate spiritual connection—because we have disregarded his commands on how to live righteously in the Spirit (Mat 7:23). Christ is righteous and we are invited to follow his righteous ways of eternal or abundant living—love God wholeheartedly and love others as much as we love ourselves (Mat 22:37-40). When we demand our own way, is God really in charge of our lives?
My friends, if we are going to remain devoted in our commitment to Christ, we will need to daily acknowledge our own sinfulness and repent (give our unrighteousness to Christ), we must pick up our cross of selfish inclination and personal ambition (take authority over anything unrighteous in us), and choose to be living sacrifices (by following Christ) into Father God’s will for righteous living. This is the way we worship him (Ro 12:1-2).
Christ carried the cross that caused suffering to his flesh and we are going to have to follow him by carrying our own (Mat 16:24). Our flesh—those areas within us that are still unrighteous, unrenewed, and opposed to God—suffers when we deny it. We will always try to avoid any kind of suffering, right? Well, our flesh will and must suffer if we are going to pursue Christ’s righteousness for our lives. This is what it means to live in Christ as a people called by his name (2 Chronicles 7:14).
In our passage today, Jesus reminds his disciples (then, now, and forever) that if they will humbly acknowledge their inadequacy to save themselves and accept their own weaknesses, God will be there to provide his power, strength, and resources. God values very different things than this world. Christ calls us to live obediently according to God’s standards and if we will follow him, we will have his power and strength to overcome our sinful flesh. Grace is not a way to get out of dealing with our sinful habits; it covers us while we learn to be Christ’s followers. The grace Jesus provided with his death, cost him everything. To follow Jesus, will cost us, too. We must say “no” to our sinful flesh and “yes” to the Spirit of righteousness.
Luke 6:20-23 NLT The Beatitudes
20 Then Jesus turned to his disciples and said,
“God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.
God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied.God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh.
22 What blessings await you when people hate you and exclude you and mock you and curse you as evil because you follow the Son of Man. 23 When that happens, be happy! Yes, leap for joy! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, their ancestors treated the ancient prophets that same way.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the abundance of grace you provide to all the children called by your name. I thank you for my portion of grace, today. It will be exactly what I need in order to live for you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.