Wednesday, March 16, 2005

In other words

The Sermon on the Mount in other words . . .

In their book entitled How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals about Personal Growth (Zondervan, 2001), Henry Cloud and John Townsend summarize as well as any the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount (at least the section which follows the Beatitudes) in the following words:

"In fact, just a cursory glance at what Jesus teaches about kingdom ways after the Beatitudes is a good blueprint for the good life. Look at this list of teachings in the Sermon on the Mount.
Live a life of good deeds in the community, where they have an effect, and show what God is really like.

Keep God’s ways and show others how to do the same.

Be better than the hypocrites.

Don’t just avoid killing people; avoid also the internal attitudes that kill, such as anger, hatred, and name-calling.

Make amends with those you have hurt and work out your conflicts with others.

Don’t just not cheat on your spouse, but stop cheating inside your heart with lust and pornography. Love your spouse purely.

Run from the things that will destroy your life.

Keep your marriage commitment, and work it out. Don’t just ditch a spouse for no good reason.

Be a person of your word, and people will trust you.

Don’t return evil for evil. If someone is bad to you, don’t hurt them back. Try to give something good.

Don’t just do good to those who do good to you. Be a good person. Do good to everyone.

Don’t do good things just to get attention, but to help ther people.

Don’t be religious for show. Be spiritual in the privacy of your own heart.

Pray to God with real words in a real way. Revere him, ask for what you need, ask him to bring good to the world and to protect you from the evil one.

Confess what you have done wrong and ask for forgiveness. Then give that same forgiveness to others who have wronged you. This is only fair.

Don’t be materialistic. Invest time and money into things that will last forever, like God’s ways and people.

Get your spiritual sight examined so you see life clearly.

Don’t worry about life. Seek God, and become the best person you can be. The life that happens when you do that is the one you would want anyway.

Stop judging other people. Worry about your own behavior first.

Guard the good things of your life and heart from those who would want to hurt you.

Seek life and what you desire and need. Go to God, and ask him to lead you. Then you will find it. Trust his care for you.

Treat other people in the exact way you would want to be treated. If you do that, you won’t need a lot of other rules in life.

Remember that the path to real life is not easy and not a lot of people find it.

Beware of false teachers. You can tell the real ones from how they live and what happens to the people who follow them.

Be real and true about your spiritual life with God. Those are the only people he will acknowledge.

Build a life on what Jesus taught you and you will have a solid life on which to stand. No matter what happens, you will make it through it.
. . . Getting righteous and aligned with the ways of the kingdom and getting healthy are one and the same thing.”