The beginning of the journey of following Jesus is full of energy and excitement. But how do we keep going? The grace of Jesus is the only energy source powerful enough to propel us through the beginning, middle, and end of our journey. This summer we explore that grace as expressed by Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount. For this summer's second reading through Jesus' sermon, we'll use The Message, a paraphrase compiled by Eugene Peterson, in place of our normal New International Version.
Read Matthew 5:33-37
"And don't say anything you don't mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, 'I'll pray for you,' and never doing it, or saying, 'God be with you,' and not meaning it. You don't make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say 'yes' and 'no.' When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong."
How often have you said, "I'll pray for you," and not done it? What begins as a wonderful word of encouragement becomes a lie. Religious jargon and pious verbiage can make us sound good, but they show little about the true state of our hearts. If you say it, mean it. If you promise it, do it. Period.
Heavenly Father, you words are always true and dependable. Help my talk today to be modeled after yours. Use my words to be encouraging, enlightening, and honest. Amen.