This Summer, I decided to journal through the Gospels, a chapter a day, for 90 days. The four Gospels have 89 chapters, and if you throw in Acts 1 with Jesus’ Ascension, you have an even 90 chapters to journal through in June, July and August.
Here’s one of my recent journal entries from Matthew 5:
When I hold up Matthew 5 in front of me like a mirror, does my life reflect the words I’m reading?
“Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.”
James 1:23-24 NIV
How many of the Beatitudes would I say aptly describe my life?
Am I poor in spirit?
Do I mourn?
Am I meek?
Do I hunger and thirst for righteousness?
Am I merciful?
Am I pure in heart?
Am I a peacemaker?
Am I persecuted because of righteousness?
Do people insult me and say all kinds of evil against me?
Do any of these come easy for me? Which is the greatest challenge?
Maybe I’m looking at these the wrong way. Many of these have to do with the heart response when faced with various difficulties in life. And as I think about it, the only way for me to live out these Beatitudes is in the fullness of the Spirit. It’s the fruit of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – that will enable me to live a life that reflects the Beatitudes.
So let me ask these questions again…
Am I poor in spirit? Spirit, fill me with your patience and faithfulness.
Do I mourn? Spirit, fill me with your joy and peace.
Am I meek? Spirit, fill me with your kindness and gentleness.
Do I hunger and thirst for righteousness? Spirit, fill me with your goodness and faithfulness.
Am I merciful? Spirit, fill me with your love and kindness.
Am I pure in heart? Spirit, fill me with your love and goodness.
Am I a peacemaker? Spirit, fill me with your peace and self-control.
Am I persecuted because of righteousness? Spirit, fill me with your gentleness and self-control.
Do people insult me and say all kinds of evil against me? Spirit, fill me with your joy and patience.
It is only by the transforming, empowering, supernatural work of the Spirit in my life that I will:
Possess the kingdom of heaven.
Inherit the earth.
Be shown mercy.
Will see God.
Will be called children of God.
Will have a great reward in heaven.
All of Matthew 5 is possible not by trying harder, but by trusting more completely in the Holy Spirit’s work in me to produce this kind of life. Only by His Spirit can I be made more like and reflect the glory and holiness of my Father in heaven.
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Matthew 5:48 NIV
A friend recently asked me if I had any recommendations on books about Jesus for him to read this Summer. I gave him several suggestions from the bookshelf next to my desk.
- The Incomparable Christ by Oswald J. Sanders
- The Master by John Pollack.
- Just Give Me Jesus by Anne Graham Lotz.
- Sitting At The Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg & Ann Spangler.
- The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin.
- The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey.
- What Jesus Started by Steve Addison.
- Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes by Kenneth Bailey.
- Jesus, An Interview Across Time by Andrew Hodges.
- Twelve Ordinary Men by John MacArthur
What are some of your favorite books on Jesus, apart from the four Gospels themselves or Thomas & Gundry’s Harmony of the Gospels? Share them with us. We’d love to hear what books on His life have deeply impacted you.
Our Sonlife Team frequently says, “Jesus is a deep well.” Part of Him being our First Love is an insatiable desire to know Him better. How will you take a deep dive into the life of Christ this Summer? If you haven’t already used them, two great resources Sonlife has developed are Knowing Him: A 50 Day Study in the Life of Christ and the Harmony Study, a companion resource to The Harmony of the Gospels.
So dive in! Jesus is a deep well.
This post originally appeared at: Jesus Is A Deep Well – Sonlife