Day Four Matthew 5:19
“So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.” – Matthew 5:19 (NLT)
Learn From the Word
Jesus wants His listeners to learn that the proper way to keep any commandment of the law is to begin inwardly with the heart. He wants them to seek out the purpose for which the law was given, not just obey the letter of it. Eternal reward awaits those who obey the heart behind all of God’s law and who teach others to do the same.
For more on how this verse practically played out in the lives of His listeners, read these later words from Jesus to the hypocritical Pharisees as recorded by Matthew (verse 23 is a good summary if you can’t read the whole chapter).
Put It Into Practice
Are you tempted to believe that following God means doing everything just right to be made right in His eyes, or that being His follower frees you from the need to obey Him? God’s commands show us our inability to gain right standing through our works and send us straight to Jesus for justification. But then Jesus sends us right back to God’s commands to learn what it looks like to live in the family of God. Take a few minutes now to think about this and ask God to search your heart. Ask Him to continue to teach you the right balance of what it means to be saved by grace and also created to do good works. Ask Him if there is anyone in your life He would have you teach to do the same.
For Families with Kids at Home
Have a conversation with your kids about some of the rules or guidelines in your house. Which ones are the hardest to keep? Why is that one a rule anyway? In the same way that you as a parent or caregiver provide rules or guidelines because you want your kids to grow and be safe, God gave us rules because He loves us, not because He wants to keep us from fun. God wants us to follow His rules not to avoid punishment, but because He’s a good Father who loves us!