What exactly is Jesus saying here? Reflect on this passage for a while to see what you think Jesus is trying to say. Pray through these verses and spend some time in silence, listening for God.
After reading through this section of the Sermon on the Mount I am forced to focus on verse 37, “Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.” (ESV) When I read this I begin to think of society today. Most of our communication now takes place either through texting, snapchat, or other social media platforms. We are always available, which seems great, but can actually cause us harm. We have trouble letting our yes be yes and our no be no. This is because we are afraid of commitment.
Commitment is a scary thing to us. If one friend invites us to hang out we may reply with a “maybe” because something better may come along in the next few minutes, or we may not reply at all. Silence is a common response when we are unsure, and it is usually the most difficult to receive on the other end. Most of us do not like either of these responses, but we constantly give them to others. We do this because we don’t want to get stuck somewhere and then find out something incredible is happening at a different place with different people. This fear affects all of our relationships, and is a major reason that divorce is so common. It is also why so many people decide not to follow after Christ.
Fear of commitment especially affects our relationship with God. By fearing commitment we lack faith and trust. Following after Christ can be a frightening thing, and it is definitely a huge commitment to make, but what results from this commitment is far more satisfying than anything we can discover here on earth.
In my life I have experienced this fear many times. It has come about in dating, searching for a job, picking a major at college, and in following Christ. Throughout my life I have discovered that I am closely walking with God I seem to take on challenges and commitments that would otherwise seem crazy. For instance, while at Bethel I decided to be an RA, which is a major time commitment. At the time of this decision I was focused on God and His plans for me. A few months later I began to question my decision and wondered if it was the best choice to make for my last year at school. The fear of commitment began to enter in. Thankfully God placed people in my life to encourage me in my decision, and I greatly enjoyed my last year at Bethel. I can’t imagine doing it any other way.
Another time that I had to overcome my fear of commitment was in deciding where to work after I graduated from college. I felt that I needed to find a job as soon as possible so I began to look for whatever I could get. Then I remembered my commitment to God, to serve Him with my life. This commitment was scary because it meant that wherever I may end up may not provide me with a lot of money or “security”. I was about to take a job that would pay me well and had great benefits, but then the Lord revealed a new opportunity to me. It came just in time, and, again, I can’t imagine what life would be like if I did not follow through with this commitment to God.
Hopefully these brief examples from my life are encouraging to you and not even more frightening. Reflect on your life. What commitments do you fear? Why? How can you overcome this fear? How do you live out Matthew 5:31-37 and the rest of the sermon that you have studied up to this point? Take time to listen and pray.