“That One Rule” ( Matthew 7: 12, KJV ) by Carley Evans

We know how to give good gifts to our children, says Jesus. We know this even though we are evil. Jesus says if we know to give good gifts to those we cherish and guide, then we may expect God, our Father, to give even better gifts to us. All we need do is ask. And, we need to ask for that which is good.

Jesus says:

“Therefore, all things whatever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

“Therefore” because of God’s willingness to give good gifts to us, we must be willing to do good to everyone — not just good to those we love, our children.  If we expect God to be good to us, then we must be good to others. How can we accept goodness from the hand of God while dishing out evil to neighbors, co-workers, friends, strangers, enemies?

“Enter at the narrow gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in that way; because narrow is the gate, and hard is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

Jesus says it is so much easier for us to treat others poorly, without thought of the consequences to their hearts. The damage we do is the easy and broad way that leads to destruction. The narrow way is hard to follow; it’s tough to do good to others all the time. Sometimes, we are irritated, depressed, lonely, angry, insulted, haughty, insecure. Sometimes, from our hearts come all sorts of evil words and deeds.

Rather, look for opportunities to do good to others, even to those who may not treat you well. No one is beyond God’s loving-kindness. Find the narrow gate; walk in the hard way. If you stumble, pick yourself up and ask God to forgive you. Then, keep to the narrow walkway. It leads to life.

“Unless You Turn” ( Matthew 18: 4, ESV ) by Carley Evans

Jesus’ disciples feign wanting to know “who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1) Imagine them looking at one another, thinking – for example – “Surely I’m better than Matthew; after all, he’s a tax collector!” – or – “I’ve got to be greater than Judas; after all, he complains about wasting an expensive ointment, pretending he cares for the poor.” Martha must think, “I’m better than Mary.” After all, Martha complains about her sister, Mary – implying that she is lazy. Martha wants Jesus to rebuke her for sitting at His feet while she prepares the meal. Peter even briefly appears to think he’s better than Jesus, rebuking Jesus for saying that He will be killed and rise from the dead. “Far be it from You, Lord! This will never happen to You.” (Matthew 16:22)

When they ask Him about being the greatest in the kingdom of God, Jesus shows His disciples a child. He tells them that “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus calls us to turn and become like children. Sounds similar to turning back the clock, perhaps wiping the slate clean and starting over from a place of innocence and great humility. We are to think better of others than we do of ourselves; treat others as we would wish to be treated. We are not to put stumbling blocks in the way of others; or lead others into temptation. Jesus warns, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened about his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:6)

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,” says Jesus. “For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)

“The Law Of Liberty” ( Galatians 5: 4, ESV ) by Carley Evans

“You were running well. Who hinders you from obeying the truth?” (Galatians 5:7) “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you are fallen away from grace.” Do you not recall “that whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it?” (James 2:10) “You are called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13) Remember, “the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Galatians 5:14) “So, speak and act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who shows no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (James 2:12-13)