It is not only the law Jesus addresses in the Sermon on the Mount. Spiritual disciplines is also part of the teaching. Insight is offered in how to conduct ourselves when we fast and when we offer acts of righteousness. In this section we find what is commonly called the Lord's Prayer. Not offered as the only way to pray, or even the exact words, the prayer is offered as a model for the areas of prayer. Unfortunately over the centuries the prayer has become a repeated verbatim. This has caused in some cases a lose of meaning behind the prayer. Next time you say the Lord's Prayer I invite you to really think about the words you are saying and not blindly offer the words because it is what you do.
The story of Philip is one I greatly enjoy. Another one of the Deacons from chapter 6 is now found going around preaching, teaching and being a conduit of God's work. Philip finds himself on lead to a place where he teaches the Ethiopian about who Jesus is that Isaiah points to. Conversion happens and they stop to baptize the Ethiopian. Once the baptism happens Philip is take to another place by the spirit. There are many things we could look at in the passage, the one I want to highlight today is the evangelism of Philip. It would have been easy for Philip to say I am only a deacon, set apart to serve the widows their food, and not tell people about Jesus. Yet he was so in love with Jesus and so full of the Spirit he could not help himself. Often we do not engage in evangelism because we have a greater relationship with this world and fear than we do with Jesus.
Salvation is from our God and God alone. No matter how hard we try we cannot save another person, and we are not working to convert people to our kingdom. God is the one who will care for the evildoers, God will care for judgment and revenge. So what is our role, praise God and so fill our lives with the Spirit of God, that people see God not us first.
In the midst of Jacob meeting up with his brother whom he deceived several times, there is a wrestling match with God. One of the possible interpretations of the wrestling match with God has to do with Jacob and God coming to terms on the way Jacob has conducted his business up to this point. From this point on in Jacob's life there is no more deception on his part. In fact as Jacob emerges with a limp and a new name, there is a difference in how Jacob conducts his business. While most of his life Jacob followed after God, this wrestling match became a conversion moment. God was a part of Jacob's life yet there was much Jacob took into his own hands. Once he is names Israel, the reliance on God increases exponentially. Perhaps our struggles are producing a greater faith in our lives.