Matthew 5:43-44 (NLT)
43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”
Proverbs 21:17 (NLT)
17 Those who love pleasure become poor;
those who love wine and luxury will never be rich.
Rich. Rich is being able to love you enemies. Rich is being able to pray for the people who are attacking you. Rich is the peace of knowing that eternity is what really matters.
God has an impossible set of rules that must be followed perfectly – these are pretty mild, yet we’re not close to being perfect:
1 Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?
Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
3 Those who refuse to gossip
or harm their neighbors
or speak evil of their friends.
4 Those who despise flagrant sinners,
and honor the faithful followers of the Lord,
and keep their promises even when it hurts.
5 Those who lend money without charging interest,
and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent.
Such people will stand firm forever.
These aren’t sometimes/most of the time things we’re called to – the expectation is all the time. 100% of the time. From the beginning of your time.
God’s no fool and he loves us more than we’ll ever know here on earth. So, we have Christ who bears the consequences of our inability to follow some simple rules that everyone probably agrees are the way we should be living (at least I don’t think anyone would find Psalm 15 an offensive way to live). Grace.
We’re poor when it comes to being able to live, yet rich in the blessing of mercy and grace. From that richness breeds richness in our lives. Loving money, sex, entertainment, drugs, alcohol, self, etc. first won’t bring the richness that will make us really rich.