Then Jesus again taught his students who were gathered there, emphasizing basic themes he had previously taught them on the mountain (84).
These things are essential to gain all of God’s blessings:
• Admit your self-inflicted spiritual poverty. Admit that there is some part of your nature that resists being controlled by God’s Spirit.
• Mourn for your self-inflicted spiritual poverty. Regret your self-inflicted separation from God.
• Desire to live God’s way, as you realize that your way is not working.
• Expect & accept the trouble that living God’s way will bring in this life. God will greatly reward your faithfulness in the next life.
Living for yourself in this life will never lead to God’s blessings in the next life:
• If your goal in this life is to be rich, you’ll be poor in the next life.
• If your goal in this life is to be full, you’ll be hungry in the next life.
• If your goal in this life is to be happy, you’ll be sad in the next life.
• If your goal in this life is for other people to speak well of you, no one will speak well of you in the next life.
Living for God in this life means you need to have different goals. For instance, you must love your enemies.
As children of God in heaven, you must be good to people who hate you, you must bless people who curse you, and you must pray for people who mistreat you.
If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, let him slap your left cheek, too. If someone wants to take your coat, let him have your shirt as well. Whenever another person asks you for something, give it to him. Whenever another person wants to borrow something, lend it to him. Do for other people what you would like them to do for you.
Why should God reward you — if you only love people who love you? Even sinners do that! Why should God reward you — if you are good only to people who are good to you? Even sinners do that! Why should God reward you — if you lend only to people who are likely to repay you. Even sinners do that!
Instead, as children of God in heaven, love your enemies & be good to them.
Lend & expect nothing back. God offers blessings to bad people, as well as to good people.
Instead of being like everybody else, God wants you to be merciful, even to bad people — just as God himself is merciful, even to you.
Loving God, please help me to love people as radically as You love me.
(84) Luke 6:20-36