Readings: Psalm 119:1-8 and Matthew 5:21-37
Jesus invites us to move beyond the limits of the Law and human religious traditions and into heart matters – to get to the heart of things. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day loss sight of the heart: their own heart, the heart of God’s holy Law, and the heart of God’s intended way of being in the world. Jesus is not teaching us to abandon God’s Law (Mt.5:17) but rather to see God’s Law as a way to live a humane life: a fully human, robustly life-giving and loving life as God intended.
- Begin your devotional reading by sitting and soaking in Psalm 119:1-8. What do you notice emerging from your own heart as you meditate on the words of the psalmist? How do the psalmist’s sentiments evoke reverence for God’s holy Law? What goodness does the psalmist envision for life by interacting with and living out God’s commandments?
- Sit with Matt. 5:21-37 reading it through a couple of times listening deeply to Jesus’ teachings as he corrects core misconceptions of Kingdom spirituality. Of all the real human and relational issues he addresses – anger, reconciliation, lust, marital relationships, truth-telling, lying, oaths – which one resonates with you? Why? How do Jesus’s teachings expand or correct your perspective of the issue? From his teachings, how do you understand the connection between the heart (interior condition) and behavior (external way of being in theworld, relating to others)? (For an alternate reading go to Mark 7:1-1-23 to assist you in thinking through Jesus’ teachings.)
- Take a moment to reflect on your own heart as well as your current relationships with others. Is there something you’d like to address with Jesus about your life or have him address with you? Open to the Holy Spirit in these moments, asking for the grace to hear truth, to desire God and his good instructions for life, and the courage to make changes if necessary in order to live in a God-honoring way in your relationships.
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
– Elizabeth Khorey