I am reading through the Gospel of Matthew right now with a friend.
I am using The Voice Bible.
The Voice project basically lays the Bible out in a screenplay format.
It includes outlined boxes that provide thoughts about what is happening and what Jesus is doing.
It also includes italic type throughout the Scriptures which contain info that would have been obvious to those originally addressed in the Gospel/letter, or to simply remind the reader of scripture comparisons without having to read/look up footnotes.
For the second time in 2 weeks, I have read Matthew 5
where Jesus is talking about being the salt of the earth
and a light in the world.
It's a passage I have read numerous times.
I know what he is saying and it is a good reminder:
"Let your light shine everywhere you go,
so that others may see your good actions
and praise your Father in Heaven." 5:16
But right after that, The Voice writes in italic type:
"I ask you not merely to follow the commandments,
but to give Me your heart, your body, and your very life."
It's basically a reminder of
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul,
with all your mind..."
Matthew 22:37 (also found in other Gospels)
But the way it is written here struck me today.
I know about being a light.
I know about shining for Jesus, loving others, being kind...
But am I doing it because it is a command, my responsibility as a Christian?
Or am I doing it because I truly believe it?
Am I giving my heart, my body, my very life to Jesus?
It's not as easy as snapping my fingers and saying "YES!"
I am learning that it is an every day dying and rising.
It's an every day surrendering.
It's an every day intentional practice.
For me, it's every morning, before the sun rises,
in the quiet of my house, with my yummy Pumpkin Spice coffee ;)
I need this time.
To focus, to pray, to seek the Lord, to give Him my very life.
I know I can have moments of loving others and being a light in this world.
But I don't want moments.
I want it to be who I am.
I want to be so saturated with the Spirit
that I can't be anything else but His every minute of the day.
I know I am not perfect. I know I will fall.
The Good News - Jesus will catch me and he'll catch you too!
I believe so much that it's what Jesus desires for all of us,
to live life to the full, every minute of every day.
But we can't do it without Him.
Jesus, today, I give you my very life.
Tomorrow I will do it again.
But for today, I pray for a clean heart and a right spirit.
I pray for your power and strength, that I may live my life as a light
for my children, my husband, my friends
and all those I encounter today.
I pray for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control.
And if I succeed, I will give thanks,
and if I fail, I will seek your grace.
And when this day is done, I will lay my head on my pillow and rest,
and begin anew tomorrow.