Some days are diamonds, some days are stone

I think John Denver has it spot on with that phrase, after all, diamonds are actually stone too.

Your point of view or attitude can make all the difference to whether you have a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ day.

The Bible also has quite a bit to say about your attitude! Matthew dedicates 3 whole chapters to it (sermon on the mount, Matt 5-7), showing us the true meaning of the 10 commandments.

The following are verses from those 3 chapters that have struck me this week. May they mend our attitudes together…

Matthew 5:6-10
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Some of these can really feel like mere rock! But if your heart is right, they can be made to shine like brilliant diamonds.

What helps us appreciate these diamonds as more that just rocks?

Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Are you hankering for God’s glory or your own? When we run after our own glory, we loose God’s approval, yet when we seek God’s glory, we risk loosing the approval of others… Which is more important to you? Which is shaping your concept of ‘good’ & ‘bad’ days?

Matthew 5:20
For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Those chaps were pretty good at appearing righteous to others… So how can we surpass them? The answer is both simple and extremely hard: trust in what Jesus has done to make you righteous from the inside out.

Romans 3:21-25
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-
22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.

Thats IT!

So what does Jesus’ righteousness look like?

Murder, anger & insults…

Matthew 5:21-22
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’
22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

Lust…

Matthew 5:27-28
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’
28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

True Love

Matthew 5:44
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Summary of The required standard…

Matthew 5:48
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

So isn’t it great to know that Jesus has fulfilled these requirements on our behalf, & gives/shares. His righteousness with those who trust in Him! The need for perfection as the absolute minimum (Matt 5:48) really highlights our need for Christ as explained in Romans 3:21-25 above!

Whose Glory…!

Matthew 6:1
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

Pretty self-explanatory, I think. (But I wish I could claim some room for misunderstanding…)

Matthew 6:9-14
9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread,
12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,

Having spent 6,5 years in a high Anglican school choir, I am always tempted to switch off & just recite/sing this prayer, but if you look at the attitudes expressed by each phrase it is extremely enlightening, not just in how we should pray, but also in how we should think & approach each day. The verse immediately after the prayer (verse 14) along with the passages before and after, show that this inspection of heart & deed is in line with Jesus’ intentions.

Matthew 6:19-21
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Tough one in today’s materialistic consumer society! It also links back up to Matt 6:1 (above).

Matthew 6:22b
You cannot serve God and money.

This counts for any other heart idol too.

Matthew 6:33-34
33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

So often our idols cause us to be anxious. As Sophie de Witt wrote in her book, how do we know when our idol is enough?
But God is our true provider, & we should ALWAYS be first & foremost concerned about Him, His kingdom & will, & His glory!

Summary of the Law…

Matthew 7:2
For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.

Matthew 7:12
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Who will/will not get to heaven…

Matthew 7:21
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Finally:

Matthew 7:28-29
28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.


Who carries the most authority in your life?

This truly does make all the difference day by day.
When you’re faced with a day of stone, let it be a reminder to focus your heart anew, & find the diamond in the stone, as Jesus chips, cuts & polishes your heart.

PS: this was written with my foot up & covered with ice, after dropping a full oak dresser drawer on it… A great opportunity to stay put & write, rather than run around doing more urgent things 😉

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