GOAL OF THIS STUDY
Our goal is to come to know Jesus Christ in a deeper, more
personal way. We want to read and study His life, learn
more facts about what He did, places he walked and words
that He said. Our aim, though, is not just to know the
facts about His life. Sadly, many people know a lot about
Jesus but don't know Him personally. These people do not
have eternal life. This truth is important for all of us
because Jesus himself said, "This is eternal life, that
they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom
You have sent." (John 17:3). The purpose of this booklet is
to help us come to know Jesus personally in a way that
brings us to experience and participate in this "eternal
Pray to God right now, asking what the apostle Paul
expressed in Philippians 3:10: "that I may know Him and the
power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His
sufferings, being conformed to His death". To really know
Christ means to have a life experience and not to just
memorize some historical facts.
To really know Christ means to become like Him. Our goal,
then, is to "… come to the unity of the faith and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the
measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;"
(Ephesians 4:13). To know Christ is to become like Him.
To know Jesus demands that we obey Him. The demons knew his
identity. They shouted to the multitudes that He was the
Son of God, but they didn't really know Him because they
refused to obey Him. "He who says, 'I know Him,' and does
not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not
in him." (1 John 2:4). The goal of this study is to know
Jesus personally, obeying His commandments and becoming
like Him in everything.
WHAT IS THE LIFE OF CHRIST?
"The life was manifested, and we [the apostles of Jesus]
have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that
eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested
to us". (1 John 1:2.)
"In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." (John
It is a historical fact that a man, Jesus of Nazareth,
lived about 2,000 years ago. We know where He was born, the
names of some in his family, how He died and, yes, that in
him was life and that He himself was LIFE. His coming was a
demonstration of life and this life is eternal. With
Christ, "LIFE" stopped being just an abstract theory of
philosophy. LIFE manifested itself as a carpenter's son,
who walked, talked, ate, slept, cried and loved and whose
resurrection from the dead proved Him to be who He claimed
to be. He said of Himself: "I am the way, the truth, and
the Life. No one comes to the Father except through
Christ is life and life is Christ. If you have eternal life
it is because you have Christ. If you don't have Christ,
you don't have life. Real life, eternal life, which is the
life of Christ, is much more than mere existence. Many
exist who have never found "life". In the following lessons
let's examine the quality of the life of Christ, taking
note of His virtues, attributes and the kind of person He
is. In view of this is presented the plan of this
THE STUDY PLAN
In Matthew 5:3-12, we read the "beatitudes" of Jesus.
Actually, we find here a beautiful portrait of how a
Christian ought to be. Each "beatitude" shows an attribute
and in each one we know that the very best example is Jesus
Himself. If we want to be like Jesus we ought to imitate
this example in our lives. This study, then, will be
organized around the qualities that we see in the
"beatitudes " of Matthew 5: humility, compassion,
gentleness, righteousness, mercy, purity, peace making and
faithfulness. We want to learn what each quality means, how
it is seen in the person of Jesus and, finally, give a
practical application and exhortation for us to participate
in and possess this same quality.
Unless otherwise stated, Quotations are from the New King
Life of Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Christ
HUMILITY: WHAT IS IT?
An outstanding quality of the life of Christ is his amazing
humility. Why would anyone come from so high to descend so
low just to rescue us from our certain destruction? Why
would the Holy One stoop to wash the feet of the betrayer,
the denier, and the coward?
The opposite of humility is self-centeredness, or pride.
This is the basic characteristic of a mindset influenced
and controlled by Satan. What is often taught as a virtue
in our American culture is presented as a sin in the Bible.
We read in Proverbs 6:16, 17 that "a proud look is an
abomination to the LORD." God promises to "destroy the
house of the proud," (Proverbs 15:25). "A haughty look, a
proud heart … are sin. " (Proverbs 21:4). "God resists the
proud, but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6). To be
proud means, "to consider yourself to be superior to
others". It is a wrong way of looking at yourself with
respect to others.
To really appreciate humility, we can contrast it with
its opposite quality, which is pride: Pride says: "Don't tell me anything. I
already know it all." Humility says: "Thanks for your advice
Pride says: "I need, I want, I
Humility says: "He needs, they want, you
Pride says: "God, I am so much better
than my fellow man."
Humility says: "Lord have mercy on me, a
Pride criticizes others to tear them down.
Humility praises others in order to build them
Pride exalts himself but God resists him.
Humility humbles himself before God and God
lifts him up.
Pride says: "I can do all things."
Humility says: "I can do all things through
Christ who strengthens me."
Pride says: "I want to be served."
Humility said: "I did not come to be served but
to serve and to give my life as a ransom for many."
Pride says: "Look what I did."
Humility says: "See what God has done in
Pride stood in the streets and shouted:
"Crucify him! He became more popular than we are".
Humility, hanging on the cross, looked upward
and prayed: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know
what they are doing."
Pride seeks the glory but does not find it.
Humility receives glory and honor from others
without seeking it.
The difference between pride and humility is the difference
between light and darkness. When "The Light" came into the
world, the perfect example of humility was revealed to
JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE OF HUMILITY
In the life of Jesus Christ, we can see a living
demonstration of what it means to be humble. In his
relationship with God and also with people, he always
proved himself to be an humble servant, without pretension,
without pride, unselfish and unprejudiced.
In Jesus we see a man who gave himself to the downtrodden
of his age. He associated with workers and fishermen. He
drank from the same cup of the mixed race woman who was so
despised and rejected by religious people. Jesus showed his
spirit of humility when, entering in each city, he touched
the unclean bodies of the lepers and the tongues of the
deaf mutes. He cared for the demon possessed ones to whom
others were so afraid to get near. He accepted the
invitations to eat in the houses of sinners and publicans
as well as Pharisees and hypocrites.
Jesus did not avoid any class of person. Women of ill
repute came to him knowing they would find understanding,
forgiveness and also a command to go and sin no more. Jesus
was at ease in the presence of the rich and powerful as
well as beggars and blind men who lived along the dusty
roads to any city. Jesus took time from his busy agenda to
speak to others, answer questions, extend mercy and show
the better way to live. He visited houses of the people and
services of other religious leaders, attended weddings,
went fishing with friends and blessed little children. He
never failed to stop and answer a call for help. Even
though he had all the rights to be exalted and to glorify
himself (after all, he knew that he was the only begotten
Son of God) Jesus always insisted that it was his Father
who did everything. In Jesus we can see all the attitudes
associated with a person poor in spirit: humility,
submission, service, faith and love.
four areas in which Jesus' humility stands out:
1. HIS BIRTH
Read and . It was not by chance
that Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger.
"Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor,
that you through His poverty might become rich." (2
Corinthians 8:9). He was not born in a sanitized hospital
and laid on silk sheets in a crib of ivory. Actually,
though, even that would have been a huge step-down from the
glory, honor and power he emptied himself of in order to
come into the world. Have you ever heard of the owner and
CEO of a large multinational company who left all his
wealth, comfort and honor just to live among society's
rejects because he had compassion for them and wanted to
help them? If you can imagine that, then multiply it by
1000 and you will just barely begin to understand Jesus'
love and humility.
2. HIS TOTAL DEPENDENCE ON HIS HEAVENLY FATHER
We all seem to strive to be independent, to be on our own.
We may say, "I can take care of myself" or "I am a self
made man" with a good dose of pride. But we are seeing how
humility is allowing God to be everything, surrendering
ourselves to Him and to His will. In Jesus we see this
perfect, voluntary, dependence. Listen to his words in
5:19 - "The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what
He sees the Father do
5:30 - "I can of Myself do nothing."
6:38 - "For I have come down from heaven, not to do
My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
7:16, 17 - "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who
8:28 - "I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father
taught Me, I speak these things."
8:50 - "I do not seek My own glory; there is One
who seeks and judges."
14: 10 - "The words that I speak to you I do not
speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in
Me does the works."
14:24 - "The word which you hear is not Mine but
the Father's who sent Me."
... And many more
Jesus gave the Father all the credit. He became as nothing
so God could be everything. He totally submitted himself to
the Father's words, works and will. That is how God was
able to gain, in the life of Jesus, the redemption of the
The life of Christ is a life of self-denial and complete
dependence on God. In all his humility, though, He lost
nothing, because the Father has "highly exalted Him and
given Him the name which is above every name, that at the
name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven,
and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and
that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:11).
May this be our life also.
3. HIS SERVICE TO OTHERS
See and . One who humbles himself
before God is able to humble himself before men. He was a
servant to all. Can you picture the Lord of all, taking a
towel and water basin, kneeling before unworthy men to wash
their dirty feet, including the friend who would soon
betray him and the disciple who would insist three times
that very night that he did not know him? He washed the
feet of brothers who had just been fussing about which of
them would be the greatest in the kingdom. What a fantastic
example he gave us! If we ever think that we are too high
and mighty to kneel down before the filthy of this world to
help remove their stench, then we are not yet like the Son
4. HIS LIFESTYLE
-Jesus led a simple life. He didn't reside in palaces. He
even discouraged a would-be follower saying, "Foxes have
holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man
has nowhere to lay His head" (Matthew 8:20). His simplicity
and humility become even more impressive when we remember
that He is the one who created the universe. By all rights,
everything belonged to him, but when Jesus entered into
Jerusalem to be crowned as king of the Jews and Messiah who
could save all the people, he chose to come riding on a
Read. What a difference
between the values of Jesus and the other "great men of
history"! They say that Alexander the Great entered India
in a grand procession of 200 painted elephants, 200
soldiers on black horses and 200 lions surrounding him as
he sat on a golden throne atop an ivory chariot proclaiming
"I am the Lord of the universe. I conquered the world. Now
I will conquer the stars". Alexander died at 33 and today
owns nothing. But the humble king Jesus is still the King
of kings and Lord of lords. The humble road of this
unpretentious servant carried him to eternal glory.
The proof of our humility before God is how we live among
people. It is easy to say that we love God whom we do not
see but true love is seen in our love for our neighbor and
in our humility. How do you know that Christ lives in you?
Can it be that you participate in his character? To know if
you are humble or not, it is necessary to examine your
Do you live giving preference to others?
Are you wise in your own eyes?
Do you really love without getting puffed up and without
serving your own interests?
Do you serve others in love?
Do you put up with others in love and longsuffering?
Do you consider others superior to yourself?
Do you forgive others like Jesus forgave you?
What is it like to be humble? The answer is in the way you
treat people. Only when we consider ourselves as nothing in
relation to God will we be able to consider as superior
those who have less knowledge, talent, wisdom and holiness.
Adopt Christ's spirit that did not seek his own glory. If
this is not your spirit, then do the following exercises to
grow in humility.
EXERCISES TO GROW IN HUMILITY
1. Think about the example of Jesus more and the
beauty of His humility and His way of treating
2. Think about how dependent you are on God. On
your own you can't even breathe. He gives us everything
to sustain us and care for us.
3. Think about your own sins. How often have you
done wrong? How far do you fall short of God's glory?
How many times have you had the opportunity to do good
4. Think about the cross on Calvary - the price
Jesus paid for your sins.
5. Put Jesus on the throne of your heart, making
the decision to submit your will, actions and life to
6. Pray for God to help you grow in humility.
7. Begin to practice the things that an humble
person would do. If you can't control your feelings, at
least you can control your actions, trusting God to
give you the correct feelings.
So submit yourself to God and to other persons,
seeking their interests instead of your own.
Answer these questions in order to measure your own level
1. Do you consider yourself superior to
2. Do you think you still need to read and study
the Bible in order to understand better the will of God
for your life?
3. Do you ask God daily to help you face the trials
4. Do you feel put out when someone orders you to
5. Are you really conscious of the fact that all
you have belongs to God?
6. Did you yield this week to the will, opinion or
preference of someone else?
7. Do you feel good when you help someone poorer,
less educated, or in a lower social class than
8. When you have a misunderstanding with another
person, do you find it difficult to ask forgiveness or
9. Did you hurt someone with your words this
10. Do you feel bad when you do a good deed but
nobody sees or nobody recognizes you for doing it?
COMPASSION: WHAT IS IT?
Some people say that Jesus was a revolutionary. They say he
was radical. They are right! It is true that he didn't try
to overthrow the government of any country. He did not get
involved in politics; he didn't encourage workers to go on
strike; he never took up arms to fight against the
authorities. To the contrary, Jesus always taught his
followers to submit to the "powers that be". However, what
he did teach and the movement he began was so different
from what already existed that the society of his day
rejected him and crucified him.
When Jesus preached his "sermon on the mount", the
predominate religion was Judaism and the military-political
power was in the hands of the Roman Empire. See how Jesus'
words conflicted with the ideas of the leaders of these two
The religious leaders of the Jews were mostly Pharisees, a
group known for their pride and self-righteousness. Do you
remember the prayer of the Pharisee in the temple? "Lord, I
thank you that I am not like this publican sinner here
The Roman soldiers prided themselves for having conquered
the world by force. So here comes a carpenter's son saying,
"Blessed are the humble ones." That is quite radical, isn't
The Pharisees were the "sanctified ones." They considered
themselves so superior to others that they would not even
touch a "sinner". Jesus, though, "the friend of sinners"
came telling: "Blessed are those who weep"; that is, those
filled with compassion, a sensitive heart, the contrite,
those whose hearts are touched with the sorrows of
The Roman Empire lived by the rule of "might makes right"
and the voice that spoke the loudest was the sword. Our
Jesus taught: "Blessed are the meek."
The Pharisees robbed widows' houses and for pretense prayed
long prayers but Jesus said: "Blessed are those who hunger
and thirst for righteousness."
The Pharisees announced with trumpets that they were about
to give a beggar a coin. They prayed in the public town
squares and streets so they would be seen by men. But Jesus
arrived on the scene saying, "Blessed are the pure of
heart, the sincere ones.
The Roman Empire lived for battles, conquest and
destruction. Jesus taught, "Blessed are the
Can you imagine the reaction of the people who heard Jesus
teach? It would be like the man who commented about the
Jesus' instruction to "turn the other cheek": This man
said, "That won't work anymore. If you do that you'll lose
out every time." Some think Jesus' words are beautiful but
impractical. Remember, though, that Jesus did not only
teach, but he lived what he taught. The Pharisees and the
Roman Empire have disappeared from the world but Jesus
still lives. He doesn't just live in his teachings and in
his followers but he rose from the dead and the kingdom he
came to establish was indeed established and millions have
entered into it and are still entering.
In Jesus said that those who
weep are blessed because they will be comforted. This idea
is contrary to the modern mindset that teaches us that real
men don't cry. We hear our society telling the youth:
"Don't look back, enjoy life, have fun, you only go around
one time, do whatever you feel like doing, to be sad or
feel remorse is stupid." But Jesus still proclaimed that
those who weep are blessed.
There is, in itself, no virtue in weeping. Jesus is not
promoting pessimism, self-pity, wounded pride, frustrated
ambition, pain or suffering. Jesus is not saying, "Blessed
is the spoiled child who cries when he doesn't get what he
wants." He isn't saying: Blessed is the criminal who
laments going to jail." That's not it at all. The
compassionate person, contrite and sensitive, is the one
with a heart that is touched by the sufferings of others or
by his own sins. This person will be blessed because God
will comfort him is his sorrows.
A rose has a sweet smell but break a rose petal and see
what happens. You will discover that each petal has a
storehouse of perfume that was destined to die in the
flower. That is the way it is with a human heart closed,
insensitive, never broken, only living for self. It will
never find the treasure hidden within. That treasure is
only set free when the heart is broken, sensitive,
contrite, and compassionate. It is true: blessed are they
JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE OF COMPASSION:
When you read the Gospels, you'll be impressed with the
compassion of Jesus. He was always touched by the desperate
situation of the sorrowful. A leper came to him crying, "If
you will, you can purify me". (Mark 1:40). Now lepers were
not very pleasing in appearance. They were banned from
community living. But there was something about Jesus that
made them know they could approach him. Jesus drew them to
himself so it wasn't out of character that, when he heard
the leper's plea, he was "deeply moved", he extended his
hand, touched him and said: 'Be clean!' And he never failed
to reach out and touch them, leaving them perfectly clean.
That's just the way Jesus was.
In the city of Nain, he saw a widow at the burial of her
only son. Seeing her grief, he had compassion on her and
said, "Do not weep." He then proceeded to bring her son
back to life (Luke 7:13).
Leaving Jericho, some time later, Jesus saw two blind men,
"touched their eyes and they immediately they received
their sight" (Matthew 20:34).
The Bible doesn't say that Jesus wept when he heard that
his friend, Lazarus, had died. But when he arrived at the
tomb, seeing Mary and others weeping, "He groaned in the
spirit and was troubled" and wept. (John 11:33, 35). The
sorrow of others touched his sensitive heart. Whether it
was the grieving, the blind, the lame, the lepers, the
prostitutes, or just plain sinners, Jesus felt their pain
and did what he could to help.
The WORD who became flesh, , who created the universe
and placed everything in order, who still holds it all
together powerful with
all authority; divine but compassionate and sensitive to
our pain and grief - this is our Jesus!!! See your Creator
with your hearts' eyes, pained and weeping, and you will
know the life of Christ a little bit more. Never again will
you say, "real men don't cry".
Jesus' greatest compassion, though, is not for sick bodies
but for sick souls. We read in how Jesus felt
compassion for the multitude who were like sheep without a
shepherd, lost people, aimlessly wandering, not knowing
what they were looking for, nor where they were headed.
Someone could say, "That's their problem. Each one chooses
their own destiny." But Jesus would not close his heart to
their situation. He was touched by their spiritual
condition. That's why he came.
We read in , that Jesus, coming
into his beloved city, Jerusalem, also wept. He looked into
the future of that city and it was dark. The Jews rejected
Jesus and refused to repent of their sins and for that
would suffer a terrible punishment. Enemy armies would
invade and destroy the city. All the inhabitants would be
killed or sold like slaves to other countries. The glorious
temple, symbol of their privilege and the presence of God
among them would be torn down, leaving not one stone on top
of another. All that did happen 40 years later. Jesus loved
them and cried thinking about the destiny of the rebellious
It is significant that this scene happened a week before
his own painful death. On the eve of his own cruel death,
Jesus did not cry for himself but he cried over Jerusalem,
knowing they had rejected their only hope for salvation
when they rejected him. His tears were not for his own
imminent suffering but the suffering of those he loved.
Jesus had compassion for sinners. Jesus has compassion for
you today, whether for your loneliness, pain, sorrow or
your sinful condition. He can save you. He wants to save
you. He died to save you.
"Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever."
(Hebrews 13:8). He does not change nor will he ever change.
With the compassion he had for those people, he will today
"sympathize with our weaknesses ... in all points tempted
as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus weeps for
you in your afflictions and wants you to feel for others in
their sorrows also. Jesus is our perfect example of a
compassionate, sensitive person.
Let's notice three areas in which we should be emotionally
touched. First, we ought to weep with his sufferings of
people. Some people cry over a broken glass and spilled
milk but not when they see a broken life. That's just not
right. We must recognize the infinite value of a person and
our hearts should be touched by their sufferings. Let our
hearts be touched by people and not things. Try to see
God's hand in everything, be it the face of a little child,
the beauty of a smile, pleasant words of a friend or the
sacrifice of love. Jesus was that way. Like Jesus, wherever
we go, seeing the human condition, hearing the cries of the
grieving, be compassionate, stop to help, encourage,
console. You will be like Jesus Christ and you will be
Second, we need to weep and lament because of the sins of
others. It doesn't make sense to be moved to tears because
of the physical suffering of others but ignore the sins
that are leading them to eternal death. After all, when we
appear before the Judge of all souls, what will it matter
if our stomachs are full or empty? We should weep when we
see a brother in Christ return to the world and decide to
live in sin (see . We need to
weep with the fact that our society walks in darkness. Evil
will overcome the good if we stand idly by. We must
evangelize the lost and quit doing nothing in front of
prostitution, pornography, drunkenness and corruption.
Every day the number of young people addicted to drugs
increases. Can we say we feel compassion for them if we do
nothing to help them? Christians must love what is good but
also hate that which destroys lives and souls.
Third, we ought to weep because of our own sins. In this we
cannot follow Jesus' example because he never sinned. He
did teach us, though, that before we look at the sins of
others, we must look inside our own selves. The Pharisees
condemned he sins of others but ignored their own failures.
We need to examine our own selves, feel remorse, let our
own hearts be broken and be filled with a contrite spirit
in a way that leads us to repentance. (Psalm 51:17).
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse
your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you
double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter
be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble
yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you
up" (James 4:8-10). Be like the people on the day of
Pentecost who, hearing from Peter that they had crucified
the Son of God, "were cut to the heart, and said to Peter
and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall
we do?" (Acts 2:37) Be sensitive to your own spiritual
SELF-EXAMINATION: Answer these questions in order to
measure your own level of compassion:
1. Do you think that God will be sad if you
2. Have you ever implored a friend, "Please, quit
doing what you are doing? It is sin!"
3. Have you ever told the gospel to someone who was
not a Christian?
4. Do you think it is funny to see a drunk stagger
and fall, walking down the street?
5. Do you like to listen to gossip?
6. Are you less sensitive to some things nowadays
that you once found offensive?
7. Do you enjoy watching films that exalt violence,
immorality and obscene language?
8. Does the sight of beggars, blind people and
crippled folks touch your heart?
9. Are you happy that the evil, perverse people of
this world are going to receive what they deserve?
10. Do you feel remorse when you fall into
temptation and sin against God?
MEEKNESS: WHAT IS IT?
We often hear that the Christian ought to be different from
people in the world. This is true. The difference that
Christ makes in our lives should be very noticeable. But,
it is not that the person who is in Christ has to walk
around in a suit and tie or that the Christian woman has to
only use homemade clothes or wear her hair in a certain
way. These things are exterior; that is, superficial (on
the surface). Jesus said that the difference between his
follower and a person of the world is in his inner person,
his character. What the world should see when they look at
the life of a Christian is exactly the inner, spiritual
expressions of humility, compassion, meekness,
righteousness, mercy, purity, peace and faithfulness. When
we begin to manifest these qualities, the world will
clearly see, the Lord will be glorified and more people
will be drawn toward the Way.
One of the least sought attributes is meekness. Someone
once said, "If all God's attributes were offered at
auction, the last one to be sold would be meekness." Few
people understand what it is and fewer still value this
quality that so characterizes the Lord Jesus.
"Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth",
Jesus said in Matthew 5:5. What does it mean to be meek?
According to our dictionary, to be meek means you are
"showing patience and humility, gentleness ... easily
imposed upon, submissive". The meek one doesn't throw fits
or fly off the handle under pressure. A good synonym is
"gentle". A meek person is under control.
To be meek does not mean to be weak. A horse, before it is
tamed, is strong but, being wild, is useless to man. After
being tamed it does not lose its strength. It just becomes
tamed, controlled and useful. A good definition for
meekness is "strength under control".
Rome conquered the world but the Christians conquered the
Roman Empire. Nero tossed and turned in his bed in the
royal palace while the Christians slept peacefully in their
prison cells. They found the victory in their redemption
and their courage was a result of their conviction. They
gained patience in their sufferings. Those primitive
Christians acquired spiritual strength, based in the truth,
tempered in persecution and which reflected the image of
the nature of Christ. Let's examine this attribute that is
so very essential in the Christian life: meekness.
JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE OF MEEKNESS
Perhaps the most misunderstood quality of the life of
Christ is his gentleness or meekness. He wasn't weak but
strong. Remember how he was arrested, beaten with rods,
scourged with a whip, spit on and mocked. The multitude
called for his death and he was nailed to a Roman cross.
The crowd challenged him, "If you are the Son of God, come
Now consider what he could have done. He could control the
tempest with a word, walk on the water, feed 5,000 people
with a few loaves and fishes and even raise the dead. On
the cross he could have called 10,000 angels to set him
free and destroy that ungrateful generation. But he didn't
do it. Jesus, "committed no sin, nor was deceit found in
His mouth … when He was reviled, did not revile in return;
when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed
Himself to Him who judges righteously" (1 Peter 2:22,23).
Listen to what he did say on that cross: "Father, forgive
them for they do not know what they do." Now that is
meekness, properly defined as strength under control,
calmness in the midst of trials and tranquility of soul
even in difficult circumstances.
The meekness of the Messiah was the subject of prophecy in
the Old Testament. or tell of the
characteristics of this person of whom Jehovah said:
"Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My
soul delights! He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised
reed He will not break and smoking flax He will not
quench." Jesus did not stand in the streets, shouting, with
his face red from anger, trying to convince the unbelievers
of the errors of their ways. Jesus, according to this
prophecy, did not destroy a broken reed or snuff out a
Think about these two expressions: Back then, a reed or
small rod was used like either a ruler or walking cane. If
you broke it, it became useless. This broken reed
represents a weak, fragile person. How did Jesus look at
weak, frail people? He did not despise them. Jesus, among
the weak, despised or outcasts, showed patience and
sympathy. He identified with them, treated them with
respect and lifted them to a higher plane. He didn't
discard them; rather, he treated them with greater care. He
The smoldering wick was similar to this. When a candle or
oil lamp goes out, the wick begins to smolder and smoke.
That could be irritating to the eyes so the easiest thing
to do was to reach over and pinch the wick. It quickly goes
out. That smoldering wick represents an irritating,
inconvenient person. How did Jesus treat that kind of
person? He put up with them! Instead of getting rid of
them, he took care of them. Jesus did not stomp on weak,
obnoxious, problematic, immature people!
Jesus did not promote weakness but tolerance and so was
able to help the weak become strong. He did not load them
down with burdens too heavy for them to bear. He always
called people to behave well and to be of good character
but, at the same time, he understood and put up with the
silliness and immaturities of the weak. Jesus was on the
side of the weak. He never stopped being gentle.
It may seem strange to say but Jesus did not leave his
meekness when he expelled the moneychangers from the
temple. He was not out of control. Rather, he knew exactly
what he was doing. He didn't stop being meek in Matthew 23
when he denounced the hypocrites: "Serpents, brood of
vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?" Nor
will he cease to be meek when, one day, he "is revealed
from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking
vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do
not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2
Thessalonians 1:7, 8). To be meek doesn't mean you don't
fight against evil, rebuke the sinner or try to correct an
injustice. Some times force must be used. We must take
action, speak out, resist, but we just do it the right way,
Jesus' way, the controlled way.
Meekness is in the list of attributes the Spirit produces
in the life of the Christian . This means that,
when the Spirit of God is controlling our lives, we will
not have that desire to return evil for evil toward that
person that provokes us. When criticized, we will not
explode in anger. When we are mistreated, we are able to
forgive the one who hurt us. This is meekness.
To be meek does not mean that we give in to all evil
desires or injustices of others. False doctrine has to be
corrected. Sin must be rejected; Oppression and injustice
must be fought, but always in a controlled manner. Our
opposition to wrongdoing must be without bitterness,
nastiness or disequilibrium.
We ought to treat people with respect . We should correct
the brethren with care and delicately. Being meek, gentle
people, we can treat people like packages labeled with
signs that say, "FRAGILE, HANDLE WITH CARE". Human beings
are frail. Let's be careful not to hurt them with our words
of resentment or with rough handling. Let's treat people
with great care and tenderness, especially those who are
far away from God.
The Bible speaks about gentleness especially with respect
to women. Our society, with advertising, films, soap
operas, books and magazines, is constantly deceiving women.
They hear on every hand that, to be popular and attractive,
they have to be "sexy" and sensual. They are constantly
bombarded with the lie that beauty is the result of
physical characteristics and that a little botox injected
in the lips, a thinner nose or bigger bust makes them
beautiful. That is one of Satan's lies. The Bible
emphasizes that inner qualities make a woman beautiful and
attractive. 1 Peter 3:3, 4 says "Do not let your adornment
be merely outward; arranging the hair, wearing gold, or
putting on fine apparel; rather let it be the hidden person
of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and
quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of
It is not a sin to be pretty. In fact, God created the
woman to be attractive and pleasing to the man. God doesn't
condemn the woman who is outwardly pretty. There is no
virtue in purposefully dressing shabbily. The Bible says
there is something much more important and basic that
attracts and impresses the man. It is purity, reverence; it
is a gentle, quiet spirit that can influence the man for
good. With time, the physical body loses its shape, the
face gets lines and blemishes but the gentle spirit gets
more beautiful every day. "Growing old gracefully" is
better than growing old disgracefully.
Answer these questions in order to measure your own level
1. Do you holler at
family or colleagues?
2. When falsely
accused, do you defend yourself with excessive
3. Do you insist in
having the last word in a discussion?
4. Would your
associates be astonished if you became enraged at
5. Do you have the
reputation as a person who remains calm in the middle
of a tempest?
6. Do you try to
choose words that will not hurt someone's
7. Do you try to get
even with the person who hurts you?
8. Do you want to
fight with the person who breaks in front of you in
9. When you rebuke
someone, does it make you feel good to see them
embarrassed or angry?
10. Are you able to
remain kind, gentle and submissive when you are
fighting against some injustice?
RIGHTEOUSNESS: WHAT IS IT?
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be filled." (Matthew 5:6). The Bible truth
is that man needs more than food and drink to sustain his
life. He needs spiritual nutrition for his soul. That's why
Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by
every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Matthew
4:4). He also said, "Do not labor for the food which
perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting
life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the
Father has set His seal on Him" (John 6:27).
Man is not just a mere animal with physical necessities. We
are the special creation of God, made in His image and
likeness, equipped with spiritual, emotional and physical
needs and desires. We need an intimate relationship with
God our Creator and this comes through Jesus Christ.
reminds us of the TV
scenes of starving immigrants who flee some drought, civil
unrest, or political upheaval with only the clothes on
their back. They work or travel in oppressive heat while
their little children's bones seem to protrude through
their tight skin and their bellies bloat up with parasites.
Most of us don't have a clue what real starvation feels
like. What a joy it is for these refugees to find abundant
food and water!
People are searching for something in life that satisfies
their desires and needs. They are hungry and thirsty but
not only for bread and water. They want things, material
possessions, close relationships, meaning for life and
peace. They want to be happy. There is, though, a more
vital hunger that God wants us to experience and always
stands ready to satisfy. It is hunger and thirst for
righteousness. Remembering that "blessed" is sometimes
translated "happy", notice what Jesus did not say. He
didn't say that those who seek happiness will be happy.
Instead, he said that those who seek righteousness will be
happy. Those who seek God and His will, those who want to
think and act rightly, will find happiness.
Often, the folks who are hungry and thirsty try to satisfy
their desires in the wrong way. A child arrives at school
hungry and fills up on candy, but when lunchtime comes
around he doesn't want to eat anymore. So it is that many
who try to satisfy their desires with material things, like
alcohol, drugs, sex, various amusements and unspiritual
pleasures, discover that they don't find lasting joy. Jesus
showed us the path to true satisfaction, contentment and
fulfillment in life. Blessed are those who hunger and
thirst for righteousness.
JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
A thousand years before he was born, it was prophesied of
Jesus: "You love righteousness and hate wickedness" (Psalm
45:7). It was also prophesied that:" With righteousness He
shall judge the poor and decide with equity for the meek of
the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His
mouth and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the
wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and
faithfulness the belt of His waist" .
Jesus is our best example of righteousness, but do you know
what righteousness is? It is the same thing as justice,
only on a personal level. It is not just treating others
fairly or rightly but also doing right yourself. In his
life here, Christ treated people fairly, did what was
right, judged evil and defended the innocent. His
righteousness includes retribution for evil committed. He
is a just judge who is involved in the fight between good
and evil. In this sense he is not impartial. He wants good
to prevail over evil. Jesus loves what is right but hates
what is wrong. It ought to be important for us to know that
Jesus always did and will always do what is right.
Jesus Christ, the righteous One, always did what God
wanted. Even the thief on the cross had to confess: "we are
condemned justly, for we receive the due reward of our
deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong" (Luke 23:41).
Because he was righteous, he could say: "Satan has no claim
on me" (John 14:30). He always did what was right before
God. He showed his righteousness when he expelled the
moneychangers from the temple. He could not allow people to
turn his Father's house into a den of thieves .
Jesus never rejected a person because of his past mistakes
nor abandoned truth
for traditions that would deny help to the needy
. He gave honor to
his companions and shared the
truth with others . In every
word and deed, Jesus showed us the perfect example of what
it means to be righteous.
Jesus is our example of maturity . He is the source
of our strength and fruit . As he did, we must
desire the fellowship of the family of God , feeding
ourselves on the Word of God , sharing our
possessions with others . We must obey
God instead of men . This is the life that
Jesus revealed to us.
Christ's righteousness is also seen in his role of Judge.
"God has established a day when He will judge the world
with righteousness through Jesus" ( Acts 17:31) . When he
comes in judgment, he will divide the sheep from the goats.
"We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,
that each one may receive the things done in the body,
according to what he has done, whether good or bad"
. What will the
Righteous Judge say to you on that day?
Jesus so emphasized the absolute necessity of righteousness
in our lives that he said: "Unless your righteousness
exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you
will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew
5:20). He then proceeded to explain how to practice this
righteousness. See some things he pointed out in the Sermon
on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6 and 7) that are involved in a
1. Be merciful
2. Be pure
3. Make peace
4. Illuminate the
5. Control your
6. Control your
7. Be faithful in
8. Be honest
9. Consider the well
being of others
10. Love your
11. Serve God from
12. Forgive others
13. Don't be
14. Seek God and His
15. Don't be
hypocritical in judgment
16. Value holy
17. Treat others the
way you want to be treated
18. Obey Christ
The Christian life
is a life of righteousness, good works, and obedience
and even more, these works have to be done for pure
motives. Jesus said in for us to not
practice our righteousness to be seen by people. All we
do we should do before God to please Him, knowing that
He will reward us.
Answer these questions in order to measure your own level
1. Have you ever
deceived someone on purpose but did not repent of doing
2. Is there anyone
in your life that you refuse to forgive?
3. Are you
constantly making decisions based on "What would Jesus
do in my place?"
4. Do you concern
yourself with widows, orphans and the poor?
5. Are you
strengthening your spiritual life with prayer, Bible
study and fellowship with the church?
6. Do you think you
deserve God's favor because of your good
7. Do you judge
people by their clothes, language, race or
8. Do you think that
a criminal can become a good person and important in
the kingdom of God?
WHAT IS IT?
Jesus defined mercy with a story: "There was a certain king
(Matthew 18:23-35) who decided to settle accounts with his
servants. He discovered that one servant owed him 10,000
talents - a small fortune. The servant would never be able
to repay what he owed - not ever. The king, then, ordered
his men: "Throw him into the dungeon; sell all his
possessions, including his wife and children!" The servant
begged him, "My lord, please be patient with me. I will pay
it all back. I just need some time." That plea touched the
king's heart and - surprise of surprises - he ended up
canceling the entire debt. The servant left jumping and
shouting for joy! Soon, however, he came across a fellow
servant who owed him some money. It was just a little sum,
but the first servant demanded immediate payment. Even
though it was a small debt, that servant was unable to pay
it. The first servant, the one who had been forgiven such a
large debt, then commanded that servant to be thrown into
the dungeon until he paid what he owed." Now in this story,
who was merciful - the king or the first servant? Of
course, it was the king, because he was touched by the
difficult situation of the debtor and did something to
alleviate his suffering.
Jesus went walking with his disciples one day on the Sabbath (the
Jewish day of rest). It was lunchtime and the disciples
were hungry. They came upon a field of corn ready to be
harvested. There arose the drama: hungry men, gazing on a
field of ripe corn, and a group of Pharisees watching this
group of Jesus' disciples and thinking: "It is the Sabbath.
It is not permitted to work on the Sabbath. Watch them
closely to see if they pick some corn to eat. If they do,
we've got them!" Now what is Jesus going to do? Will he be
considerate of the needs of his disciples and draw the
criticism of his enemies? Or will he give in to the
man-made traditions and let his men go hungry? What would
mercy do? The answer is obvious.
The merciful one defined as his priority the needs of men.
Actually, this in no way violated God's law which was given
to bless people. It only conflicted with the traditions of
those legalistic hypocrites who invented rules and burdens
that not even they were able to bear. Mercy attends to the
needs of people ahead of man-made rules and customs.
Religion without mercy is empty and dead and is not from
God. Nobody who excludes mercy from their life can claim
that they are following Jesus. To be or not to be merciful
is no insignificant matter. In the judgment, Christ will
say to the unmerciful: " 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into
the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and
you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take
Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison
and you did not visit Me.' Then they also will answer Him,
saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a
stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not
minister to You?' Then He will answer them, saying,
'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to
one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'"
(Matthew 25:41-45). Mercy is an essential part of true
"Blessed are the merciful because they will receive mercy",
said Jesus. Mercy is when we feel the pain of someone in a
bad situation. It is not, though, only feeling the pain,
but acting to alleviate and help. We all feel pain and
necessity sometimes. No doubt, we need an encouraging word
or a kind gesture. People around us also feel these same
things and need that kind word and helping hand.
In , Jesus taught us that
God would reward our care and affection for others. We will
"receive mercy". Jesus said in Matthew 6:14 that "if you
forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will
also forgive you." The merciful person really will be
blessed. He will feel that his life is worth something and
also will be certain that the God who rewards is observing
him with great pleasure.
JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE OF MERCY
No one measures up to Jesus. He went through life with an
agenda full of important tasks but always found the time to
stop and tend to the needs of those around him. To help
someone else wasn't a waste of time for Jesus. His
priorities were so different from those of the world.
Coming down from the mountain after delivering a powerful
sermon, he met a leper who said, "Lord, if You are willing,
You can make me clean." Jesus put out His hand and touched
him, saying, "I am willing; be cleansed" (Matthew 8:3).
That scene was repeated for over three years during
Christ's ministry on earth.
Constantly responding to requests that we might find
inconvenient, we never read in the Bible that Jesus ever
met a needy person asking for help and he failed to help
them. To at the very end, we see Christ, crucified on the
cross of Calvary, dying in anguish between two thieves. He
had his hands full with his own problems but, hearing the
thief's request, he felt great compassion. Though he
himself was suffering pain and humiliation, he was able to
forgive the thief. That is our Jesus! He looked down upon
us, with the guilt of so many sins committed against Our
Heavenly Father, and he still descended to this dirty
little ball of clay to live among sinners like you and me,
just because we needed his infinite mercy.
Now then, how do we feel toward those people who cover
themselves with the filth of this world and the stench of
sin? Knowing that they will have nothing to eat tomorrow
and a fate worse than death awaits them in the judgment,
will we reach out to assist? Jesus did. If we want to live
the life of Christ, we will also reach out to help.
We must challenge ourselves to ask in every situation,
"What would Jesus do?" Would Jesus forgive the one who
offended him or nailed him to the wall? Would he give
another chance to the one who failed him? Would he be
patient with the slow to learn? Would he give a helping
hand to pull someone out of the mire of iniquity? If you
know the answer, then just do it too!
According to , to show mercy means to
attend to the needs of people around us. Mercy always walks
with open eyes and acts at the smallest cry for help. This
happens daily with us and we will perceive it if we are
open to it. We cross paths with faces marked by pain,
anxiety, fear and sadness. Sensing that there is something
wrong that needs attention, we have two options: remain
indifferent to the one who is suffering or draw near for
the purpose of helping. We have in Jesus a perfect model
for mercy because everything in his life was a reflection
of his Father. It was Jesus who said, "Be merciful, just
like your Father in heaven is merciful" (Luke 6:36).
We may sometimes want to excuse our negligence by saying to
ourselves that we don't know the person. In , Jesus teaches us
about this pre-planned isolation tactic. It is the story of
the "Good Samaritan". Notice that two Jews (both were
religious types) went down the same road as the wounded man
but purposefully passed by on the other side. They had an
opportunity to stop and help but they didn't. Maybe it was
the worries of life, fear of a trap, tiredness after a
day's work or maybe it was simply indifference. Whatever
the excuse, the result was still "no action". The Good
Samaritan, though, was a busy man, on his way to fulfill
responsibilities and obligations, but he put it all on hold
to stop and help a person in need. We need to keep our eyes
open to such opportunities. When the Samaritan saw the man,
he drew near, wanting to see the need instead of wanting to
hide from it. We too are always being presented with
opportunities like this. What moves us to act is not our
education, talent, social class or financial resources. It
is a heart filled with mercy.
The Samaritan came to the wounded man without fear and
without shame. The ones who should feel fear and shame are
those who see but do not stop to help. The church is not a
monastery into which we flee the harsh realities of life.
To the contrary, we are a body of action. The Samaritan was
not afraid of blood. He applied the medicine and touched
the wounds. The Christian can't be afraid of blood. Some
people, facing a person in need, ask, "What will I receive
in return for helping?" Others say, "There is no hope; I
would be wasting my time." The merciful, though, keeps on
helping. Race, skin color or religion does not matter. The
good Samaritan did not ask for social security number,
income tax statement, three references of merit or driver's
license in order to decide if he would stop and help or
not. The man was wounded, it was urgent, and so he
What would you do if you went down a main road and saw a
gravely wounded person at one o'clock in the morning?
Showing mercy sometimes involves risks. Robbers, hiding
behind the next boulder, could have attacked that Samaritan
but his mercy and compassion were greater than the risks.
How much greater were the mercy and compassion of Jesus
when he went to that cruel, shameful cross in order to save
us from our fatal spiritual wounds?
There is an ancient tradition that a woman among the
multitude, having mercy on Jesus as he treaded the painful
way of the cross, took a towel and dried his face. The
gesture of that woman did not end his sufferings but Christ
was so touched that he left his face print impressed on
that towel. That story is just a legend, but it is true
that any kindness or act of mercy we do for others, because
of the Lord, leaves a lasting impression on our souls and
often on the souls of those who we helped. We all know
that, faced with the enormity of the sufferings and need of
people, the resources we have to give seem like nothing.
Sometimes the only thing we can offer is a friendly word
and a gesture of mercy. Who among us would dare to deny
The gospel of Luke tells that while Christ was in the
garden of Gethsemane, immersed in anguish to the point of
sweating something like drops of blood, "an angel appeared
to Him from heaven, comforting Him" (Luke 22:43). That
angel did not change his destiny or death, nor alter his
decision to go forward. His determination to die on the
cross in order to be able to remove our sins continued and
he did die a terrible death. Could it be that that
comforting and strengthening from the angel was wasted
time? Was it in vain that Jesus died on the cross to show
his mercy for a sinful race? Of course not! It is never in
vain when we show mercy for a suffering, needy, scared or
I was sitting on the patio early one morning at a friend's
house on a Lake in Kentucky. As I enjoyed that moment, I
thought to myself: "All this is so beautiful: the air is
fresh and crisp. The lake is still like a mirror, the
sounds of the birds are like a symphony, the trees are
green and lush, even the rustic house with flowers planted
in every nook and cranny, the patio - it is all beautiful
and pleasant. Even the rocking chair I sit in is
comfortable. What a privilege to be able to talk to my
Creator within my heart and mind. All of life is good."
Then this little old sick poodle-looking dog comes up and
stands in front of me. "I know what he wants - affection.
He wants to be petted, touched. He really wants to sit in
my lap, but he's 13 years old, crippled, going blind and
deaf, sick and he smells like death warmed over. He smells
like road-kill - and I don't want him to touch me. Not even
rub against my pants leg. And I sure don't want to touch
him. He stinks." That little old stinking puppy was
road-kill just waiting to lie down in the middle of the
Jesus cares about human road kill. Not possums, flattened
out on the highway with a circle of buzzards around him
digging into the feast before them. Not even the deer that
could have been in your freezer, cut and wrapped in wax
paper for future meals if a car had not gotten to him
first. The world is full of old, diseased, lonely,
addicted, divorced, downtrodden, sinners, dirty people and
we may think - don't touch me. I don't want to hold you in
my lap. They are road kill - flattened out on the road of
life but the muscle we call the heart keeps on beating. It
matters to Him when people go to bed at night with stomachs
growling from hunger and lips that are dry and parched from
thirst; when people sleep under the bridges and remain on
the outside of home and society; when they shiver in the
cold on long winter nights or lie in pain on hospital beds
or sit staring at the walls of a jail cell.
It matters to Jesus when people are lonely, when poor,
dirty beggars come into the assembly, when children have
mental disorders and when, teens who driven by hormones
have messed up big time. They may be Mary Magdalene, or the
leper, or Zacchaeus the publican, or the woman with a
hemorrhage of blood, or the crazy man of the Gadarenes.
This is not just about Jesus. It is about you and me. I
didn't pet that dog but God help me if I refuse to take the
humans who are road-kill into my arms and treat them with
kindness and love. Jesus calls us to reach out to touch the
least, the lost and the lonely.
Make the decision now that you will stop and help the
needy, the stranger, the rejected, and the lonely; that you
will loan to the one who cannot repay you, forgive the one
who offended you, give another chance to the one who
failed, treat the back-slidden, weak, inactive, slow
brother with kindness and love; that you will not crush the
defeated and ignorant; not nail to the wall the brother who
yielded to temptation; that you will do something to
alleviate the suffering of the homeless and abandoned and
look at every human being as if it were Jesus who is
needing your help.
Answer these questions in order to measure your own level
1. Do you invite
people to your home that cannot return the
2. Do you set aside
some money each week to help the poor?
3. Is it hard for
you to forgive someone who hurt you?
4. Have you talked
to an unbeliever this week in a way that might draw
them toward the Lord?
5. Do you feel
grateful for all the Lord has done for you?
6. Do you visit the
sick at home or in the hospital?
7. Would you give
another chance to the person who robbed
8. Are you able to
forget the wrongs that people have done to
WHAT IS IT?
Many people have a wrong idea about what it means to be a
believer. One such person asked if he was a believer,
answered: "Yes, I am a believer because I don't drink,
smoke, dance or gamble." What mattered to him was a list of
prohibitions, but the law of Christ always emphasized more
what you do and what you are like on the inside than things
you don't do. Your behavior should be and will be a simple
reflection of what exists in your heart. The importance of
personal, inner qualities is shown in the following common
Plant thoughts and
you will reap your actions.
Plant actions and
you will reap your habits.
Plant habits and you
will reap your character.
Plant character and
you will reap your destiny.
Really, it all starts
with thoughts. "For as a man thinks in his heart, so is
he." (Proverbs 23:7). Acts are not the most important
thing. Sure, your actions are important, but the fact is
that "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart
brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure
of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of
the heart his mouth speaks" (Luke 6:45). The main emphasis
of spiritual development must always be the inner person;
that is, the heart.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God." The
coin of purity of which Jesus spoke in Matthew 5:8 has two
sides: morality and sincerity. The word here translated
"pure" is the Greek word katharos, which is defined as
pure, clean, unsoiled, uncontaminated, sincere, upright,
and void of evil. Jesus said in Matthew 15:19, that " ...
out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders,
adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness,
blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man."
Impurity is to look at a woman with illicit desires
(Matthew 5:28) while purity is just the opposite.
Purity involves sincerity of motives. Even the word
"sincere" comes from Latin words meaning "without wax".
This refers to the ancient custom of hiding the flaws in a
work of art with wax, trying to deceive the buyer. A good
piece was without wax; that is, sincere, meaning that it
was 100% or without contamination. Like pure honey or pure
milk, what is in the bottle is what is written on the
label. Jesus responded to the hypocrites so much because
they were "like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear
beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men's
bones and all uncleanness." and "outwardly appear righteous
to men, but inside [were] are full of hypocrisy and
lawlessness" (Matthew 23:27). "The Lord does not see as man
sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD
looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7). It is not height,
muscular strength, talent, charisma nor clothes that define
a man. It is the heart. May we be pure in heart.
JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE OF PURITY
The perfect and pure life of Christ was living proof that
we can also be pure. He lived in the flesh but did not give
himself to the impure desires of the flesh. He never
sinned. He never looked at a woman with impure intentions.
He never acted falsely.
Of those who followed him, none ever questioned his
conduct. His enemies accused him of blasphemy because he
claimed that he and the Father were one. His enemies were
always trying to catch him in some contradiction but they
never did. Not once! He had a life of suffering and
temptation but he never failed. He could say: "I am the
light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in
darkness"(John 8:12). He asked: "Who among you accuses me
of sin?" (John 8:46) and the answer was only silence. When
one of his chosen Apostles took money to betray Jesus, the
only useful information he could offer to Jesus' enemies
was the place he would go to pray. Jesus was exactly what
he appeared to be and what he professed to be.
Christ had no ulterior or selfish motives. He did not use
flattery to win over followers or facilitate his mission.
His sincerity cost him dearly but to the Pharisees he spoke
the truth, even when they didn't like it. To Pilate, who
had the power to kill him or set him free, he confessed
that he was king and had all authority. He did attract
attention, but his reason for helping people was because he
felt compassion for them. The Pharisees would give the poor
man a coin but only after they had tooted their own horn to
call everyone's attention. Jesus healed the sick and raised
the dead and instructed them to not tell anybody. What a
difference! Jesus gave us the perfect example of sincerity,
purity, holiness and humility. "Create in me a pure heart,
Oh God!" (Psalm 51:10). And may we add: "May the life of
Christ be my life, too!"
This teaching of Jesus tells us that we must have pure
motives for all we do. If we do something good but in our
hearts we do it because we want the praise of men, we will
be like the Pharisees of Jesus' time. They gave alms to the
poor, prayed long prayers and even fasted but did all that
to be seen by people. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13 about
those who sold their possessions to give to the poor and
even gave up their bodies to be burned but for the lack of
the correct motive (love), it was worth nothing. Let's be
careful to do good works, but motivated by love for God and
We should also remember that, as Christians, we are the
light of the world. The only chance the world has to climb
out of the moral gutter in which it lives is for Christians
show a more excellent way. If there is no difference
between the world and us, then it means we are a part of
the world. If we read the same books and magazines, see the
same movies, wear the same clothes, tell the same jokes and
participate in the same amusements as the people who walk
in darkness, we are not being pure in the eyes of God.
A good rule of thumb that always helps us make good
decisions is to ask: "What would Jesus do in my place?"
There is a similar question we can ask to help us stay pure
in heart: "Would I be ashamed for Jesus to know my acts,
thoughts and motives?" Of course, Jesus does already know
our thoughts and motives. We just need to remember that he
does and we need to desire to please him. "There is no
creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked
and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account"
(Hebrews 4:13). Blessed are the pure in heart for they
shall see God.
The main thing that keeps us from having a pure heart is
sin, specifically, hidden sin (Psalm 32:3). We must
honestly face up to and eliminate sin from our lives. So
many people, afraid of the reaction of others, refuse to
admit that there is sin in their hearts, so they spend
their lives struggling and pretending to appear to be
something they are not. We appreciate pure water, pure milk
or pure honey. They are 100% what they appear to be and are
claimed to be. The same is true of a pure heart. Possibly,
we have come to grips with a God who searches our hearts
and knows just what is inside, but what makes us so afraid
to be perfectly transparent to those around us? Is it fear
that, if others really knew us as we are, they would mock,
scorn, despise and reject us? Those are the same fears that
produced the pharisaical, hypocritical hearts of Jesus'
day. Don't you sometimes long to be so clean inside that
you would not be ashamed for any and all to know you as you
really are? What a relief that would be! "Create in me a
pure heart, oh God. Let me be like you in all my ways."
Answer these questions in order to measure your own level
1. What do you think
of a person who has a pure heart?
2. Would you be
ashamed for your friends to know your
3. Are you walking
in the light of God?
4. Would you be
ashamed for the brethren to know the books you read or
the films you watch?
5. Do you enjoy
indecent or suggestive jokes?
6. Do you consider
yourself to be a sincere person?
7. Can you say that
you hate evil?
8. Do you lie to
people in order to not offend them?
9. Do you think it
is right to dress sensually so people are attracted to
10. Do you do good
deeds in order to be seen by others
PEACEMAKER: WHAT IS IT?
For many years a large silver star adorned the top of the
Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. One day, back in the
1800's, the Roman Catholic Church, which shared a part of
the building with a Greek Orthodox Church, decided to take
down the silver star and replace it with their own star.
But the Greek Orthodox Church refused to let them. The
Greek Orthodox Church was supported by Russia and France
supported the Roman Catholic Church, but it was Turkey who
actually ruled over Palestine at that time. When Turkey
sided with the Roman Catholic Church, Russia declared war
on Turkey. Immediately France and England allied themselves
with Turkey and fought what history calls the Crimean War.
It lasted over three years, from 1853 to 1856. At the end
of that war the star came down.
Isn't it ironic that in the very place of the birth of the
Prince of Peace there has almost always been conflict and
war? When TV cameras take us to Bethlehem almost any
Christmas season, we will see armed soldiers watching over
the crowds that gather to worship the Prince of Peace.
It is estimated that in all the history of humanity less
than eight percent of recorded history can be described as
times of peace. In the last 32 centuries there have been
fewer than 300 years of peace. Historians tell us that
within the last 300 years there have been 286 wars in
In the 20th century, the iron curtain fell in Eastern
Europe. For many years, they had lived in apparent peace
among themselves. However, now freed from the rule of the
Soviets who dominated them, various ethnic groups returned
to the old bitterness and hatred and the mutual killing
began anew. The truth is that human beings, on our own, do
not get along well with each other. Our courts are full of
those who cannot get along, so they go to court to find
someone to resolve the differences between them. We fight
and we bicker. We criticize each other. We tear each other
down. On our own, we have difficulty living in harmony and
peace with one another.
Epictetus, a philosopher of the first century, wrote in
reference to the Pax Romana - the Roman peace that existed
in the civilized world at the time and about which the
Caesar boasted - "While the emperor may give peace from war
on land and sea, he is unable to give peace from passion,
grief and envy. He cannot give peace of heart, for which
man yearns more than even for outward peace".
To most people, peace is simply "the absence of strife." If
there are no wars, we say the world is at peace; or if we
aren't fighting with our neighbors, we have neighborhood
peace. But peace in the scriptures is far more than that.
In the O.T., peace is shalom which means "wholeness,
completeness, harmony of life." In the N.T. the Greek word
for peace is eirene meaning "inner well-being." Putting
them all together, peace can be defined as "inner calm,
even in the midst of outward turmoil or calamity." To enjoy
peace is to be in harmony with God, self and others. It is
important to know that peace in the Bible carries the idea
of reconciliation. It is not just declaring a cease-fire
but a uniting of the armies. It isn't just not fighting in
front of the kids but starting to love one another. It
isn't just closing the doors to shut out the noise on the
street but finding an inner tranquility in your spirit that
remains though surrounded by turmoil. True peace comes when
friendship is re-established between you and God, others
and your own self.
There is only true peace when love takes the place of
hatred. The peacemaker is the one who works to replace
hatred and strife with love and unity.
JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE OF A PEACEMAKER
The daily headlines of almost any newspaper tell about
wars, crime, violence and hatred. In the midst of such
confusion and strife, can it be that there is a place of
quiet rest, peace and tranquility, safety, a true paradise
here on earth? Such a place does indeed exist and, better
still, is accessible to all. This place is in Christ and
the one who created this peace is Jesus himself. In fact,
Jesus is our peace. Into this squabbling, war-torn world,
God sent His personal, visible representative of "peace on
earth, good will toward men."
Isaiah prophesied about Jesus: "For unto us a Child is
born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be
upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful,
Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace there will be
no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To
order it and establish it with judgment and justice From
that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of
hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6, 7)
This helps us understand God's grand plan to establish
peace among men here on earth. God's plan was called a
"Mystery" and "God's Eternal Purpose". It is to do nothing
less than unite all kinds of people in a kingdom of peace,
love and righteousness through Jesus Christ the King.
Isaiah 11:1-10 described this kingdom 650 years before it
was established. He used symbolic terms: "… The wolf also
shall dwell with the lamb… the cow and the bear shall
graze; their young ones shall lie down together… They shall
not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth
shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters
cover the sea. "Those who by nature would once kill and
devour each other are transformed into harmless, loving
beings. Can you see how true peace only is possible when
people come to know the Lord? This is where "Jesus, the
Prince of Peace" comes in. This is why it is so essential
for us to know Christ and his life.
shows how Jesus
is the great peacemaker. Read this passage and see how he
destroyed the enmity that separated Jews and Gentiles in
one body. Jesus' effect on these natural enemies was
fantastic. People of different cultures, languages, races,
religions, customs, etc., who had centuries of history full
of war after war - Jesus caused them to become beloved
brothers. The instrument he used to make peace was the
cross of Calvary. The vision is of Jesus walking through
the desert. In front of him all is dead and brown. But on
he walks and wherever he passes, he leaves love, peace and
harmony. The desert comes to life and is transformed into a
beautiful, lush garden: birds singing, flowers blooming,
water running, green pastures. In reality, that's exactly
what Jesus did, but in spiritual terms.
Jesus embraced the worst sinner, touched the vilest leper,
purified the most despicable prostitute, took all types of
people and joined them together into one beautiful family
of God. He paid a high price but saw his mission as a
peacemaker as a priority in his life.
The job of a peacemaker is to reconcile men to God, with
other human beings and with their own selves. When Jesus
spoke these words, the world was divided. One race hated
other races, one nation hated other nations, and people of
one religion hated other religions. An example of this is
the feelings between Jews and Gentiles. The Jewish man
thanked God for not being a Gentile, a slave or a woman. He
despised the half-breed Samaritans, even to the point of
walking many miles out of his way to avoid contact.
Today, it is the white and the black, rich and poor,
learned and illiterate, north and south, socialist and
capitalist, liberal and conservative, Islamic and Jewish.
Human nature has not changed. Christians must be
instruments of peace, serving God's plan to establish peace
between people of all groups. Sadly, some who call
themselves Christians, instead of making peace, often sow
discord and division. We all should be ashamed of this
situation that is so contrary to the growth of Christ's
kingdom. Let us dedicate our lives to peacemaking. That way
we will be the children of God.
The night he was betrayed by Judas, when Jesus prayed to
the Father in favor of his disciples, he asked: "that they
all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You;
that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe
that You sent Me" (John 17:21). Yet today when unbelievers
observe the multitude of different denominations, each one
claiming he is following Jesus, it is no wonder that many
do not care about listening to their message. This sad
situation has even arrived at the absurd extreme in history
of "Christians" killing "Christians". Enough of this! The
peacemaker fights for, defends, and promotes peace and not
division. To Christ's followers was given the job of
creating peace; that is, bringing people into
reconciliation with one another. "Now all things are of
God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ,
and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is,
that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself,
not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to
us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors
for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we
implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might
become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians
To be a peacemaker means to evangelize, to tell the good
news of the love of God and the forgiveness of sins through
the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The solution for family
feuds, racial strife and civil conflict is the gospel. Two
people only come into fellowship with God when they are in
fellowship with each other. Peace does not come by
political party, economic system, national flag or the
United Nations. Jesus is the One who brings peace
(. Our job is to spread
the peace that Jesus gives. This is work for us all.
Just like Jesus dedicated his own life to peacemaking, we
should dedicate our lives to bringing peace to the world,
but peace that is true and eternal, men reconciled to God
through Jesus Christ.
Answer these questions in order to measure your own level
1. Are you at peace
2. Are you at peace
3. Do you live at
peace with your neighbor?
4. Do you
participate in or promote a religious division or
5. Have you shared
the gospel with someone lately?
6. Do you enjoy
seeing people fight?
7. When someone is
mad at you do you talk to them to try to resolve the
8. When you try to
help people who are squabbling, do you mention Christ
9. Do you take the
initiative to resolve problems?
10. Have you ever
helped someone find the peace that is available in
FAITHFULNESS: WHAT IS IT?
A person's true character is most clearly revealed when
that person is feeling the pressures of life. When
everything is pleasant and easy, free of irritations,
insults and injuries, it isn't very hard to be good and
kind, patient and agreeable. But in the midst of
persecution, pain, illness, criticism and rejection, a
man's true colors come to the surface. It is in these
moments that some appear as light in the darkness and
others just blend into that darkness. It is in these
moments that some give up and others keep going.
If you leave all to follow Jesus, only try to help others
and dedicate yourself wholly to God, but then suffer some
great loss, you may be tempted to think, "What good does it
do to serve God? Is it worth trying to be a good person?"
or "My life was better before I gave it to God." But what
is missing if you succumb to such thoughts? It is simply
this: You lack faith or trust in God and His promises. The
truth is that God never promised us a rose garden. To the
contrary, He only promised that He would always be with us
to give us strength and that, if we remain faithful unto
death, we will receive a reward beyond our wildest dreams.
But it takes faithfulness to receive that reward. The
quality we need to possess in our lives is faithfulness to
God, to Christ and to our own convictions.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness'
sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you
when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of
evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be
exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for
so they persecuted the prophets who were before you"
(Matthew 5:10). The quality of life seen here, in a
person's reacting to persecution with rejoicing, is
faithfulness or faith in the promises of God.
JESUS IS OUR EXAMPLE OF FAITHFULNESS
Jesus Christ is our best example of faithfulness. Satan
threw his most fiery darts at Jesus. His enemies tried to
kill him. Religious leaders falsely accused him. His own
people rejected him. He could even say that "Foxes have
holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man
has nowhere to lay His head." The words of Isaiah 53:1-12
describe his sufferings: "... There is no beauty that we
should desire Him ... He is despised and rejected by men
... He was despised, and we did not esteem Him ... He has
borne our griefs and carried our sorrows ... stricken,
smitten by God ... afflicted ... wounded ... bruised ...
oppressed ... cut off from the land of the living ..."
Think about how he was tortured, despised and then nailed
to a cross as you read these words from Isaiah 50:6,7 "I
gave My back to those who struck Me, And My cheeks to those
who plucked out the beard; I did not hide My face from
shame and spitting. For the Lord GOD will help Me; Surely
the Lord GOD will help Me". Can you begin to see how a
person can really get beat up and still trust in God? Jesus
did that. We can also, by God's loving grace, if we hang on
to our faith.
Jesus wasn't weak or defenseless. He had shown signs and
wonders to all so they could see his power. He came to
suffer in our stead so he offered his back to the stripes
of evil men and his face to the spittle of insults and the
fists of cruelty. The Son of God was not ashamed of
humiliation. We can see in all this how faithfulness is so
closely tied to persecution. Even being the target of
torture, he was determined to fulfill his mission to the
very end. In everything, Jesus continued faithful to the
Father and so the Father said of him "This is My beloved
Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" (Matthew
Arrested and tortured, Jesus did not turn back. Abandoned
by his closest friends, he did not turn back. Is it
worthwhile to surrender ourselves to Christ? The answer is
a resounding "Yes!" We may be weak and frail but Jesus is
faithful to those who want to follow him. The sorrows of
this life do not compare to the future glory that God will
give to those who are faithful to Him.
Persecution may come to us in various forms nowadays. It
can be violence, social rejection, criticism, ridicule or
loss of property or livelihood. In the primitive church, it
was much more drastic. Many Christians lost all they owned.
Hebrews 10:32-34 is very instructive on this subject: "But
recall the former days in which, after you were
illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings:
partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches
and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of
those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in
my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your
goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring
possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast
away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have
need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of
God, you may receive the promise: 'For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the
just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul
has no pleasure in him.' But we are not of those who draw
back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving
of the soul".
They were put in prison. Some would be coated with tar by
Roman soldiers, tied to posts and burned alive to
illuminate the imperial gardens of the Emperor Nero. Some
were thrown into large sacks with poisonous snakes, cast
into lions' dens or torn in two by horses. Thousands died
confessing "Jesus is my Lord!" They were faithful in
When you are being persecuted, there are several good ways
you can react:
1. Sometimes, it's
good to just walk away. Jesus did that .
2. It is always
appropriate to do good .
3. Never seek
4. Be positive and
do good to your enemies .
5. Keep on walking
in the path of righteousness, doing God's will. "Be
faithful unto death" .
6. Know that God
will reward you .
Answer these questions in order to measure your own level
1. Have you ever
been persecuted for being a Christian and you reacted
by complaining and grumbling?
2. Do you refrain
from sharing Christ with others because you are afraid
that people will make fun of you?
3. Do you pray for
4. Are you seen by
others as a positive or a negative person, an optimist
or a pessimist?
5. Do you quit doing
some good deed when others don't agree or don't
appreciate what you are doing?
6. Do you find
yourself wanting revenge against your
7. Does the
possibility that your persecutors might become
Christians and receive salvation make you
8. Are you ashamed
to be different from the world?
9. Do you ever think
that God doesn't care that you are suffering
10. Are you able to
love people who do not love you?
the most profound truths revealed in the Bible is that
Jesus of Nazareth, born 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem, was
and is, in fact, God! When he was born it was to a virgin
and the angel who announced his conception said he would be
called Immanuel, meaning, "God with us". Of his entrance
into the world it was written: " In the beginning was the
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … And
the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His
glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,
full of grace and truth." (1 John 1:1, 14) When Philip
asked him "Lord, show us the Father", Jesus replied: "Have
I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me,
Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father." Surely we
recognize our fragile and humble state as human beings, but
God considered us to be of such great value that He visited
us! Do you want to see God? Look at Jesus! Jesus was God
who came to be with us in a very personal and comforting
But Jesus went away. Can it be that God is still with us?
The Bible answer is a clearly - Yes! But how so? It is
through his Spirit. Listen to Jesus' words from John 14:
"And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another
Helper, that He may abide with you forever; the Spirit of
truth … you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in
you." "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My
Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our
home with him." The conclusion is inescapable. God our
Creator thought so much of us that He came to earth in
human form to help us. We called him Jesus of Nazareth. He
returned to heaven after completing his mission here but
sent the Holy Spirit to help us. And so today, God the
Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit want to make their home
within us. They want to personally reside in you. They want
us to participate in their life.
The life of Christ is the life that Jesus lived and the
kind of life we also can live with His help, if we want to.
If we do want to live that life, we have to look to Him.
Read Hebrews 12:1-2: "… run with endurance the race that is
set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher
of our faith, who … endured the cross..." Jesus started the
spiritual life that surges through us and he will finish
it. He is our Example to follow, our Strength when we are
weary, our Coach cheering us on and our Redeemer welcoming
us into His arms at the finish line.
Consider all who were against Him and the price He paid to
do His Father's will. See how God brought forth greatness
through the cross, through suffering, and through death.
When you think about your own suffering, the abuse you have
suffered, how you have been used and abused and how awful
it is -it is no wonder you can't face it - … look to the
cross and see the Man they stripped naked and hung there
for all to look upon and laugh at.
When you think about life's inequities, the unfairness of
the cards you were dealt and you feel like singing another
"somebody done somebody wrong song" … look to the cross and
see the One who was scourged for our iniquities.
When you sting from the rejection you've known, the pain of
being "not wanted" or of having your love spurned ... look
to the cross and see love flowing down from the Wounded One
who was despised and rejected.
When you're afraid, when God is silent, when life slaps you
around and the thorns dig deep, when you have given your
best but your best isn't enough … look to the cross!
When your body is wracked with pain, the guilt of your sins
is ever before you and you think you can't go on and you
want to quit or compromise … look to the cross! See Jesus.
He did it! He overcame! He can see you through too!
Do you remember the fairy tale about a handsome young
prince who was transformed into an ugly old toad? He would
forever remain in that form unless kissed by a beautiful
princess. He spent his days in a dark pond, sad and
depressed. What hope was there for freedom? His big eyes
bulged, his skin was rough, clammy and warty, his body
jerked spasmodically and his mouth was always wet with
dripping saliva. Who would ever want to kiss him? Certainly
not a beautiful princess!
But, one day, a princess did come to the pond. She was full
of love and joy, seeing beauty in everything that God had
created. She spied the old toad but did not find him
repulsive. In fact, she picked him up, looked into his old
sad eyes and planted a kiss right on his head. Instantly he
was restored into a handsome prince. They fell in love,
married and lived happily ever after. Of course, that is
just a fable, but in real life, it is the story of the life
of Christ. While on earth, Jesus walked all over Judea,
Samaria and Galilee "kissing frogs". He touched. He taught.
He healed. He transformed … lost people ... like Zacchaeus,
the tax collector. Kicked out of church, branded a traitor
in an occupied country, eternally linked to the name of
"sinner", he was so short that he climbed up into a
sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus as he passed by.
Jesus stopped at the tree and invited himself to Zacchaeus'
house for lunch and before the day ended, Jesus had
transformed that little "toad" into a prince.
Again and again, the story was the same. Christ accepted
the outcast, gave strength to the weak, loved the unlovely,
and gave a second chance to the failure. In fact, I too was
an ugly old toad until Jesus kissed me. What about you?
Would you like to be transformed into the image of Christ
and live the "life of Christ"? That's what all these
lessons are about.
In Matthew 5, Jesus gives us what amounts to a
self-portrait. These are traits every Christian should and
could possess: humility, compassion, meekness,
righteousness, mercy, peace making and faithfulness. This
is not a list where you can pick and choose, according to
your personal preference or inclination. It is not like a
buffet restaurant with a table full of kinds of food and
people choose only what they want: "Look, I want to be
merciful, peaceful and meek, but I don't like being humble,
pure or righteous." This is a complete picture of a
Christian. He doesn't say: "Paul, you be humble; Mary, you
be pure; Fred, you be righteous and Anna, you be faithful."
To the contrary, every Christian should possess all these
qualities and with your permission and cooperation, the
Spirit can produce them all in you.
See also that the emphasis is not so much on what we do but
how we are (our character). That's because, when we are the
right people on the inside, we will end up doing the things
we ought to do. "To be" precedes "to do."
NOW DO THIS EXERCISE
Write down a summary of your personal progress in these
areas of your Christian life during the last few
Here are some homework exercises to help you put into
practice the qualities found in the life of Jesus
1. Give a big hug to
a dirty, downtrodden person.
2. Do some job
around the house that you normally do not
3. Listen to a
child's conversation for 15 minutes.
4. Make a list of 10
things in which you are dependent on God
5. At the end of the
day, make a list of 10 things you did wrong that
6. Sitting outside
at night, make a list of 10 things you do not
7. Do a good deed of
charity without ever letting anybody know that you did
8. Ask for help from
somebody who knows less than you do.
9. Smile and ask,
"How are you doing?" to 10 people you don't know and
listen carefully to their answers.
10. Write down a
criticism you received without trying to defend
11. Brag on 5 people
to their face without calling attention to
12. Ask a coworker
or friend to criticize you in some way but don't reply
to the criticism or try to defend yourself, except to
say, "Thank you, my friend."
13. Spend an hour
sitting in the emergency room of a hospital, just
observing the suffering of the people
14. Review the
magazines, videos and music tapes and CDs that you have
at home and burn the ones that are
15. Rebuke or
correct a person that you know is doing something wrong
16. Go up to a rude,
irritating person and ask him how he is doing, what
does he need, etc.
17. Make a list of
people that you have been mad at and pray for each one
of them by name.
18. Go visit an old,
19. Invite a poor
person to your house to eat a meal with your
20. Make a list of 5
attributes of Jesus Christ that are most lacking in