“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ anything beyond this comes from the evil one” - Mathew 5:17 (NIV).
Those who happened to have grown around a typical African village market would already be familiar with the concept of bargaining. Normally when given a price of an item you first step back, pause and then offer a counter price starting at the very bottom. The seller coughs back a rejoinder a bit lower than his original price. You improve yours up a little bit. The seller makes a few excuses, lowers further and claims it is the final price. You insist that you have offered the final price too and are about to walk away. Things can then go either way. The seller may wave you off or still come down until you settle at one mid-point price.
This kind of selling works well for the one who has been trained in the art of bargaining. However, the one not may rush out to buy at the first mention, only to learn later that someone else took the very item at half the price. The buyer naturally moans that he was cheated and cries foul.
Perhaps for this reason is why certain folks prefer supermarket prices. There once you see the labeled price it is the final one. You can’t go down to the cash register and start bargaining for a lower price. In the modern world this is the preferred and most efficient way of doing business. It is fast, straightforward, clean and clear.
Have you ever wondered that the Lord wants our relationship to be like the supermarket model where other than leave those we relate with second guessing, just as it were in a typical village market, we are clear and straightforward! For example, if you make a pledge to make a contribution towards a certain fund why then start haggling after a budget has been drawn based on your word! If you make an appointment to attend a dinner and the host draws up plans and prepares a dish, is it okay to call back just a few minutes before and say you were not exactly sure when you made that promise to attend dinner! The host may rightly feel let down and take you thereafter as someone not reliable.
As in our verse today, the Lord is telling us to make every effort that our relations are pure, simple, clean and straightforward. We are after all urged, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). And one of those things that can affect any relation and rob it of peace is when our words cannot be taken for granted. This might well happen as we take advantage of others ignorance to leave them feeling sold the short end of the stick.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, help me in my relationship with others be clear, simple and straightforward so as to keep the peace that glorifies you, this I pray in Jesus’s name.
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!