When you read the Bible, don’t Jesus’ commands sometimes seem…impossible? The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 was Jesus’ first public message where He says things like blessed are those who mourn, love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, etc. He even says to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect! If you’ve read this and parts of the Word and think, “I’m not perfect! How the heck am I going to do this?!”–you’re not alone!
The good news is: you’re not the only one who fails… we all do! And you’re not alone in the sense that God is always with you. He has put His Holy Spirit inside of you to HELP you carry out all of His commands. But exactly how do we tap into the help made available to us? How do we live holy lives for Jesus? Through experience I’ve found hope in a few ways:
- Realize you can’t live righteously on your own; we NEED to continuously ask for help! Jesus said, “apart from Me you can do nothing!” His grace is sufficient & He loves to help us live like Jesus!
- Look at Jesus. Look at Jesus. Look at Jesus. He is the ultimate example of how to live, and I’ve found when I’m at my end, studying how Jesus handled situations, it moves my heart, motivates me to do the same & I can lean into the help and grace He’s given me to do what He asks!
Let us run with endurance and active persistence the race that is set before us, 2 [looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].3 Just consider and meditate on Him who endured from sinners such bitter hostility against Himself [consider it all in comparison with your trials], so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Hebrews 12 says that staring at Jesus is the KEY to running the race set before us! And it’s essential for not giving up! But let’s dial into that & go back to Matthew 5. Sermon on the Mount. Jesus gives standards that seem impossible to live up to right? No person could possibly fulfill all of those commands perfectly!
Exactly. Only Jesus did, and only Jesus ever will. BUT He still gives them to us as the value system of how we are to live our lives
because these are what’s most important to Him! This is how He lives and He invites us to be conformed into His image. Jesus wants us to love what He loves and hate what He hates. These are the basic principles & key values of the Kingdom of God!
When Jesus says, “Blessed are the meek because they’ll inherit the earth.” For a minute I was pretty discouraged… I didn’t know what being meek was, much less how to be meek. When I studied what meekness is–humility, gentleness, submission, not standing up for yourself, etc.–I got even more frustrated. “I’m not like this! How in the world am I going to be like this!? This is impossible!” I immediately felt the Holy Spirit’s encouragement as He told me to look at Jesus’ example again. He told me to find places the Scripture shows Jesus’ meekness, and when I did, my heart leaped.
1 Peter 2:21 For [as a believer] you have been called for this purpose, since Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you may follow in His footsteps. 22 He committed no sin, nor was deceit ever found in His mouth.23 While being reviled and insulted, He did not revile or insult in return; while suffering, He made no threats [of vengeance], but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges fairly. 24 He personally carried our sins in His body on the cross [willingly offering Himself on it, as on an altar of sacrifice], so that we might die to sin [becoming immune from the penalty and power of sin] and live for righteousness; for by His wounds you [who believe] have been healed.
This is insane when you think about it. A heart so overflowing with love for people that even though He’s guiltless and is being insulted and accused, He never raised His voice. Only God could do that. Only God can help us live this way. That’s the point. How do we do it? With His help. By fixing our gaze on Jesus’ life & following His example.
As I studied Jesus’ character in the Gospels, in Isaiah 53, Hebrew 12, and 1 Peter 2, my heart was moved at His love and meekness. Jesus was a lamb led to the slaughter:silent. He became sin though He wasn’t guilty. Why? For love. For you and I. I realized, “I’m not humble or gentle, but You are. And Your meekness stirs me out of love to be meek. I want to be like You. You gave Your life for me, and although You were completely innocent of every wrongdoing, You were punished for the sins of mankind… and you didn’t fight back. Wow. I want to do that. When I’m falsely accused, I want to respond like You did. Help me to respond like You did when that happens to me Lord!”
Oh, and if you couldn’t guess, Jesus wasn’t the illustration of how to be meek alone. Every command Jesus gives us, He perfectly fulfills as our example. It’s like He’s saying, “look at Me! I’ll give you courage and strength to keep pursuing My values even though it’s hard.” He loves to the fullest, He always forgives, He’s perfectly holy–so when we’re faced with these situations, study how Jesus responded and let it encourage you to respond in love the same way.
Glory to Glory
Are you weary of trying to live a godly life and failing? Focus on Jesus. What does that living even look like? Study the Word for His example & you’ll be amazed! Not only that–we are TRANSFORMED. The stipulation, though, in character with our marathon of a race Christian life, is that we have to look at Him again and again; abiding is constant and continual:
2 Corinthians 3:18
And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.
That’s how we get from glory to glory for real. By beholding, we will be transformed and conformed into the image of Jesus! Staring at Him is the key to loving Him & living for Him-we can’t do it alone & we don’t have to!