Monday, August 15, 2022
By Ryan Simpson - Journey Church Board Member
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
Matthew 5:33-37 is a passage best known for the advice from Jesus to let our answers to potential oaths be “‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything else comes from the evil one.” (verse 37). Frankly, taking an oath is not something we hear about or do very often. But maybe another way to look at it is that Jesus is teaching us about how to approach truth and commitments. This is so important because I’m reminded how in today’s culture, truth can be considered relative and commitments considered conditional.
Regarding truth…we live in a world where we have access to so much information digitally that it can be difficult to discern what is true and what is simply opinion. How is it possible to know truth, and how does that in turn inform our speech and commitments?
Regarding commitments…our culture seems to easily rationalize the breaking of commitments, especially when we are tired or when an attractive alternative presents itself. All of this can lead us to “Yes, and…”, or “No, but…” situations. These predicaments will often lead to bad decisions or unintended actions where we hurt ourselves or others in the process. In some cases, they can be life changing.
So, how do we know what is true? And how does this in turn inform our commitments and our ability to keep them? How do we answer these questions in such a confusing world? Where are the answers?
The answer is the Bible…God’s Word. When faced with difficult situations or tough questions, the answers are there in God’s Word. Jesus tells us in John 14:6 that, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life…”. By pursuing Jesus and searching the Bible, we can clearly know what is true, and as a result, we can be at peace by simply saying “Yes” or “No”.
“Dear Heavenly Father, we live in a very confusing world and at an increasingly confusing time. To be honest, it can be hard to know what is true and hard to know what to say. Thank you for your Word and the guidance it gives. Please help me to always look to you and your Word first when I’m not sure what to say or do. Give me wisdom in my decisions and commitments. Thank you for your love, grace, and truth. Amen.”
Daily Prayer Initiatives
- Jesus to change more lives as we double the square footage of our Castle Pines location.
- Momentum as we launch our Highlands Ranch location.
- Someone you can invite to Journey on Friend Day (Sunday, September 11)
- One bold prayer you sense God is personally inviting you to pray during the 21 Days.
Get to a place where you can focus and read the daily Scripture passage several times. From the passage of Scripture you read, highlight one or two verses that stick out. Write them down, and even consider rewriting the verse(s) in your own words.
Make some basic observations about the scripture you just read by asking these questions:
- Why was this written?
- To whom was it originally written?
- What is the author trying to communicate?
- What does the Scripture passage teach me about God and humanity?
After taking some time explaining the highlighted scriptures, begin to think about how they apply to your life. Ask yourself these questions and spend some time writing down your thoughts:
- What do these verses mean today?
- What does this verse(s) mean for my life?
- How does this verse challenge my thinking and actions?
- What changes do I need to make in my life as a result of this passage of Scripture?
Your response to the passage may take on many forms. You may write a call to action. You may describe how you will be different because of what God has said to you through the Bible verses. You may indicate what you are going to do because of what you learned. You may respond by writing out a prayer to God. For example, you may ask God to help you to be more loving, or to give you a desire to be more generous in your giving. Keep in mind that this is your response to what you have just read.