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HYDRATE — WINNING FROM THE INSIDE 18 (Mt.5:33-37) “Oaths”

“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ 34 But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
Matthew 5:33-37:

DRINK IT IN:

Have you ever participated in a “swearing in?” That’s what Jesus is talking about here. He is clearly commanding us not to swear to anything other than God Himself. To swear on something is what we do when we want to strengthen our swear/oath by giving credit to the Bible, to death, or to “your mother’s grave, etc.

So what about “being sworn into office?” What about raising your right hand in court proceedings and “swearing to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God?” This is what Jesus is talking about. Jesus is saying, don’t do this anymore. So back in 1772, some people requested a change in the court system.

Did you know that there is an “Alternative Oath” that you can request, so as not to break this command of Jesus, in the American court system? It was created in 1772 in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s oath is derived from colonial Laws of the Commonwealth, enacted in 1772, and reads:

“You [and each of you] do swear by Almighty God, the Searcher of all hearts, that the evidence you shall give this court [and Jury] in this issue now being tried shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth and as you shall answer to God on the last great day.”

Did you notice that the swearing was to no one, but God? This is a technical issue. Some might argue that this is a ridiculous technicality and a waste of time. I might push back and say that details matter to God. What if Noah ignored a few details from God about building the ark? Where this command is tricky is in the wording. The command says not to swear and then gives details about not swearing on heaven, earth, Jerusalm, etc. It seems to give us the okay to swear on the name of Almighty God. The dilemma we face is trying to determine which law we want to obey. The Bible tells us to obey the law of the land. If this is the case, then we are called to have a swearing in when we testify in court, or need to be sworn in as a public servant. But, we also must guard swearing on anything but Almighty God. I think the alternative oath is the answer. Next time I am in court or being sworn into office I will request this alternative oath and thus honor this command of Jesus. (Hopefully it will never happen. I have no desire to be involved in something that causes me to testify in court and even though I’ve always had a childhood dream of being President of the US, its highly unlikely!)

This command of Jesus is really simple and not needing deep explanation. The previous devotions I have been doing are longer…but of course…good! (Just ask me.) So…this devotion is shorter.

Jesus is simply saying to all of us, ‘if you commit to do something, don’t over promise, don’t swear on your mother’s grave, just do it!” If you say you are going to do it, then do it. If you say you are not going to do it, then don’t do it.”
This is integrity. This is one area where Christians should be known for doing.

We’ve seen it in the movies. When someone says they are going to do something and then they back it up with all kinds of promises, over promises and then they throw in a few extra guarantees that it is going happen. Its as if the person is trying to persuade themselves. When this kind of thing happens, its like a person saying they are going to come through for you, but as they say it, they don’t recognize that they are shaking their head in disagreement at the same time.

Have you ever met someone that is known as, “a man of his word?” “A woman of her word?” You’ve heard people say, “Back in the day, a handshake is all that was needed.” Or, “If ‘so & so’ says, “yes,” then consider it done!” These are comments of trust and integrity and if you know someone like this, you value them greatly.

Those phrases are earned. That reputation is earned through hard work and integrity. You can’t wake up one day and own this kind of reputation. You and I have to wake up today and begin to do what we say we are going to do. And then tomorrow, repeat. Then the next day, repeat! Over and over again.

SWEAT IT OUT:

Are there things in your life that you have been making promises about, but you are failing in following through on your word?

If you are doing this…do you agree with me that it is creating a horrible reputation of you?

Is there anyone in your life that you need to apologize to for not coming through on your word? If so, contact them and simply apologize and end the conversation. Then, after you apologize, just go about coming through on your word without saying anything else. Let your actions prove your apology.

If you are a person who has been doing a lot of promising and making false oaths…it means that your word means very little to people, and because of this, you will not be a very trusting or trustworthy person. If this is the case for you, then admit it, confess it to God, and start re-earning your new reputation.

If you are a person who comes through on your word…then keep it up! Its a great thing to continue. You will hold high value in other people’s lives.

Today…pay attention to yourself and the people around you and be observant about what they say they are going to do and whether or not their actions back up their words.

I know that you agree with me in the fact, that Christianity needs more people of integrity who do what they say and say what they do!

Its starts with you. Don’t let this devotion make you focus on others and their short comings. Only focus on you.

Make a life long commitment to simply let your yes, be yes, and your no, be no! How refreshing.

Watch how it will impact the people around you.
If you do this…you will be a lot like Jesus and you will win in life, and it will be because you started winning from the inside! This focus is about internal strength and integrity. This is something that is best done when you are focusing on being just like Jesus and keeping in His presence moment by moment throughout your day. Your word matters. Keep it simple. Yes. No.

Keep Hydrating! I hope these are good challenges for you. They are for me.
Do you swear you are going to stay committed?
Swear on your Mother’s Grave that you will!
That was a test.


Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #6”

But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice. –JC Luke 11:28(NLT)

Did you know that the word “Obey” is not in the Old Testament? You might find the words Obedience, Obedient, and Obey in our English translations, but there is no word ‘Obey’ in the Hebrew Old Testament original language and writing. We just translated it that way. Okay…okay…for you doubters, go ahead and get your study tools out and test what I am saying. The Bible does say “Test everything!” Go ahead and then come back. I highly recommend that you use a Hebrew Interlinear to discover this truth for yourself.

Crazy to think that in the Old Testament times they never would have heard the word “Obey” from anyone, not even from God.

There is a philosophy that exists that says this…if you have to say it, then you probably aren’t really doing a good job of it. Perry Noble, Pastor of New Spring Church in NC said recently on his blog… www.perrynoble.com

“Does Martha Stewart have to declare she is a good cook?
Does Drew Brees have to declare that he is a good quarterback?
Does Taylor Swift have to declare that she can sing?
Does Lebron James have to declare he can dunk a basketball?
Does B.B. King have to declare that he can play the blues?
Does John Grisham have to declare that he can write fiction really well?

Perry makes a good point in those questions above. It is my opinion that If you, your church, or your business are constantly declaring that you ARE something then I think its fair to say that you might be trying to convince your self. The reality is this, you aren’t who you are because of what you are declaring, but rather because of what you are doing. Anyone can declare that they can do something or be something. Jesus says in Matthew 11:19 that, “wisdom is shown to be right by its results.” I would translate that, “Talk is Cheap,” or “Action speaks louder than words.”

Ask yourself, “Am I doing a lot of talking in an area of my life, but in reality I have no proof that I’m actually doing what I’m continually saying?” I would encourage you to ask the people around you if you are saying a lot of something, but not actually doing it. Or, if you have the capability to actually measure the facts as to your success of what you are saying, then do the study and get the facts. I was recently a part of a group that said over and over that they were actually doing something and they even said publicly that they did it better than most. So I took the time to actually measure whether or not they were actually doing what they were saying. When the facts and the proof statistics came back to me. It was clear that my group was just saying this as a marketing tool, but actually weren’t doing very good at it at all. Are there areas in your life that the same thing is happening in your case? Are you saying something…a lot…but you’re really not putting it into practice or showing any results proving it?

“But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”

This tweet from Jesus was in response to a person that shouted at him from the crowd. The person who shouted said, “God Bless your mother, the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you!” LOL. What a strange shout out. I have had many people shout some funny, cool, and even mean stuff from the crowd when I was preaching. But never anything like this one! Can you imagine? Jesus’ reply was simple. “But even more blessed are all who hear the Word of God and put it into practice!”

Practice Makes Permanent!

So back to my point…Instead of the word “OBEY” God had them use the word “LISTEN.” For the people of the Old Testament to “Hear” WAS to “Obey.” In the Hebrew culture, to hear the word of God or to listen to a person in authority automatically obligated you to do what the person of authority was saying.
TO HEAR was to OBEY. They didn’t have to use the word obey. If they heard it they were obligated to do it…thus their is no need for the word obey, because I think God knows that talk can be cheap. Hear = Do. It puts a new spin on the frequent phrase in the Old Testament, “Hear O Israel, the Lord is one!” Do you understand? There is a lot of meaning now in the phrase, “HEAR O Israel!”

We actually understand this in our Western Culture. If you are a parent and you tell your children to do something but they don’t actually do it. What do you typically say to them when you noticed they didn’t do what you asked of them? I’ll speak for myself here, but I actually say to my kids, “Why are you not LISTENING to me?” Or, “Did you not HEAR me?” I am guessing when I ask this of my kids they think to themselves… “I HEARD you, I just didn’t DO what you asked of me.” It’s rare to actually hear a parent ask of their kids. “Why didn’t you Obey me.” We usually ask, Why did you not listen to me?”

Knowing this…how might it change you? Do you understand now the importance of not just reading the Bible, but doing what we “hear” from it?

Jesus said some things about this…

“Why do you call me Lord, when you don’t do what I say?” Luke 6:46
“Not everyone who SAYS to me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father.” Matthew 7:21
James writes, “Do not merely listen to the Word of God and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:19

All Jesus and other spiritual authorities are saying here is “Talk is Cheap.”

I know this, you know this, and so does everybody else.

“But even more blessed are those who hear the Word of God and put it into practice.”

Keep “Listening!”

Is your gut telling you something right now that you have been saying, but need to start doing.

Just Do It.