To paraphrase and summarize what J had mentioned, the Sermon on the Mount, which contains the teachings and laws laid out by Jesus, was not meant merely to be read and known. Jesus preached this message, in order that we abide by it and live a fulfilling and abundant Christian life. A lot of times people misunderstand that the New Testament abolishes the laws from the Old, but truly, Jesus came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17). Moreover, this time He came to judge us not through our actions, but the state of our hearts, in which the latter appears to be more difficult than the former. J also talked about guarding our hearts carefully and in doing so, staying closely knitted to our spiritual family. He reminded each of us that the Devil targets his victims well by choosing those who remain in isolation, far from the church and more importantly, from God.
Based on what was expounded last Saturday, I picked up two things.
1. Perfection is attainable
As Christians, we are accustomed to not only hearing the phrase, "Nobody is perfect," but to mouthing it over and over again to ourselves, and to our fellow siblings in Christ. Yes, it is true that no human being other than Jesus is truly perfect, as we all have our respective issues to deal with and know very well that only God can make us perfect, which he has, in sending Jesus to die on the Cross for our sin and transgressions.
However, what is not acceptable is that we often hide behind the facade of our imperfect and sin-prone human selves to justify our succumbing to temptation, or our stubbornness in insisting that there is nothing wrong with some of the sinful things we are doing, because it is in our nature to do so. That is absolutely BOGUS. With Jesus being the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, God has given us the ability to attain perfection through Him and we may and MUST do so, by pursuing the Holy Spirit, and righteousness. It should be our desire and goal to achieve righteousness and holiness as He has called us to it, and there should be no compromise towards anything that may come in the way of us accomplishing these goals.
Upon hearing this message, I was reminded of the many things I had chosen to stand up for, as well as the things I chose to abstain from in the past couple of months, because I had believed perfection was attainable. In those months, God did a great deal in my life, and used my life to impact that of others.
However, I allowed all of that to slip away from my grasp as I became complacent and allowed others to convince me that it wasn't worth it pursuing righteousness. I somewhat gave up when I saw my own siblings in Christ abandon the pursuit of righteousness for the many other things in the world, and thought I could compromise my own stand for the sake of an unperturbed conscience and the acceptance of my peers. Fortunately, God used this message to set me straight and put me back on the right path, and currently, I am letting God lead the way (God is foolproof!) so I may stay on the right track.
2. Building a family altar is important
At the end of that Saturday, God spoke to me before I fell asleep, as I prayed. For about a week, I had been laden with guilt over my anger towards my parents over something that had happened the day I commenced. I had lost every inch of hope and trust towards my parents, and I resolved in my heart not to talk to my mum ever again about my problems.
Needless to say, the silence took a toll on me - I was miserable for a whole week and grew astray from the Lord. However, when J talked about how the Devil takes joy when a Christian isolates themselves from the Lord and from their spiritual leaders and people of accountability, I was instantly struck. I realized that night that my mum was one of those people who I told everything to, and I was utterly accountable to, and that for an entire week, I'd allowed Satan to get into my head and convince me that the best course of action was to stop all my interactions with her for good. I knew I had made a mistake, and I'd repented and said I was sorry for believing such lies.
It was a liberating revelation, and I got some sleep that night.
What did I tell ya? So many lessons I'd picked up over the course of one weekend.
God is faithful :)