Prayer & Grace

•1 Samuel 23

• Psalm 31 & 54

• Matthew 7

Matthew 7:29

When Jesus finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at His teaching, for He taught with real authority- quite unlike their teachers of religious law.


Jesus has just finished teaching the sermon on the mount and has given a lot of commands, but in a totally new way. See Matthew 5:1-7:29

He has taught on:

  • The Beatitudes
  • The law
  • Anger
  • Adultery 
  • Divorce 
  • Vows
  • Revenge
  • Loving your enemy
  • Giving to the needy
  • Prayer 
  • Fasting
  • Money & posessions
  • Worry
  • Judging others
  • Effective prayer
  • Wisdom 
  • The golden rule
  • The narrow gate
  • A tree and it’s fruit
  • True disciples
  • Solid foundation

Wow. The crowds are amazed! Jesus is teaching with real authority. He is quoting scripture, but not reading word for word. He is giving new commands- being radical, once again. What they thought they understand, perhaps has been turned upside down. Jesus began by teaching only his disciples, but crowds had come to the mountain side as well. Unlike the teachers of the reiguous law, whose authority only derived from quoting scripture or previous teachings of other scholars, Jesus taught with direct authority. His teaching was based on his own authority as the messiah. (7:28-29 footnotes from NLT Study Bible)

So, here we see Jesus’s teachings. Some of them I read and I think to myself, wow, that’s great theory but can I really do that? Maybe I’m the only one who has thought that, or maybe you can relate. 

Love your enemy. Don’t judge. Always give to the needy. Keep your word. Don’t sin in anger. Keep your thoughts pure… on and on Jesus goes with His teachings. It’s a high bar that Jesus has set. And then I remember two things. 

  1. Any fear is not from God. If I am afraid to step out in faith, it’s not because God has let me hold that fear. It could be my sinful nature but also could be the enemy trying to hold me back from doing God’s will. So, I need to pray to be bold… not fearless, necessarily, I can take steps while being afraid but obedient. The fear will go away. “Faith it til you make it” may need be applied here!
  2. God has given us His Holy Spirit. We can do these things because He has given us the power. It is not in our own will or flesh. Prayer, prayer, prayer. Ask for guidance. Ask for anointing. Ask for grace. Ask for forgiveness. Keep on asking and God will give us all we need to accomplish His will. 

We aren’t designed to be perfect, but we are designed to be obedient. Let’s not abuse grace. Jesus has given us these things to learn and apply, and He’s also given us the Spirit to have the power to put it all into action. God’s also given us grace when we fail in these areas. So let’s start the day by asking for God’s guidance, for our boldness and for more grace as we go through each day. 

Dear God,

Thank you. Thank you for these holy words. Thank you for showing us what Jesus taught. Thank you for helping our hearts understand. 

God, I pray you meet our fears and failures with grace and give us boldness to do your will. When the world sees what you ask and calls it difficult or crazy, let us be bold for you. Let us be obedient. Lord, you give us grace but we don’t want to abuse it. We want to be obedient to You! Lead us. Gently nudge us. Perhaps shove us into your will if it’s what we need. God, we hold too tightly to this world. Help us to have open hands and open hearts. Rid us of our pride and our jusgemental hearts. Purify our purposes and goals to match yours. Let us show the world YOUR love, in a radical way, like Jesus did. 

Oh God, we are yours. Let us act like it. 

In Jesus’ name,

Amen


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