God's Impossible Standard
TNIV Scripture for Wednesday, August 20, 2008 [Matthew 5:44-48]
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Jesus spoke these words at the Mount of Beatitudes overlooking the Sea of Galilee as crowds of people and the disciples listened. He spoke for a long time giving one impossible standard after another in Matthew 5-7. "When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes (Matthew 7:28-29)." Apart from the death of Jesus and the grace He makes available to you every day, you cannot do any of the things Jesus said in these chapters. The Christian life is impossible apart from a constant acknowledgment of your inability and appropriation of God's power through the Spirit of God.
In John 15:4-5, the apostle John quoted Jesus as saying, "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."
Be encouraged to keep surrendering yourself and your ability to God and look to Him to keep filling you with the grace to bear much fruit today.