A Truthful Life

man in blue and white striped crew neck shirt reading book during daytime
[Jesus said,] “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Don’t even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” [Matthew 5:46-48]

Just give it to me straight… I recently filled out a survey, which promised to give me $100 if I completed it. After getting done, they clarified – I was eligible for $100 worth of magazines. Ugh… okay, that could still be worth something, even if it’s not $100. After picking four interesting magazines, they then informed me that I would have to pay a $2 fee per magazine subscription! So much for that survey…

Life can feel gimmicky. Faith can seem to be just one more hoop to jump through. But in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gets rid of all gimmicks. Jesus eliminates all the wiggle room that centuries of people had built around the truth, to make it seem like they were accomplishing what in fact they were not. 

“You’ve heard it was said… But TRULY I tell you…” is the refrain of this portion of the sermon on the mount. And Jesus concludes it by letting people know: You must be perfect as God is perfect. Quit talking about perfection. Drop your sales pitches. Stop virtue-signaling. Live by the truth.

And the truth is not nearly as hypothetical or debatable, according to the way Jesus spells it out. It’s not merely “don’t murder;” don’t even use hateful speech. It’s not merely “don’t have affairs;” don’t even lust in your heart. It’s not “honor your promises;” quit making promises and just do what you say! 

Jesus makes it clear: a truthful life is lived out word by word, interaction by interaction, day by day. The powerful and truly convicting thing is that Jesus didn’t merely say these things. Jesus did it. Jesus demonstrated a truthful life, in every interaction, all the way up to the cross, as he forgave the very people who murdered him. He embraced “truth in the inner parts” (Psalm 51). And the Truth has set us free.

Live by the truth. Love your enemies. Strive for perfection. And remember, it’s not in the thinking and believing and saying the right words; truth is in the doing. And Truth is in you because Jesus is in you! 

Prayer: Jesus, You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Guide us in Your Way by your Truth, into eternal Life. We trust You, because Your love has changed us. Continue to work in us and through us day by day. In Your name we pray, AMEN.

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