Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:17-20
My Momma used to say you're getting close to God when the devil starts working overtime. There are times in all of our lives when the challenges of living and surviving seem overwhelming and trying to be faithful seems incredibly hard. Some weeks and months, even years have seemed that way in my life and I also know that our biggest battle is not giving into despair and selfishness. It is our challenge, to be faithful in the face of great stress and the real desire to make things easier.
Jesus continues his sermon by warning folks that things will not be easy. And, almost as if he is joking, he says they need to be more righteous than the scribes and Pharisees, who are knowingly corrupt, selfish and too comfortable in themselves. God invites us today to a life of faith and compassion, one that moves away from selfish desires and turns daily to dependence on God's strength and power against all that attacks and manipulates us.
Today I ask God to give me an extra measure of that strength in the face of great challenges. May we see our righteousness as happy dependence on our Creator, trusting that the storms we face are already conquered in God's love.