I was talking to a Pastor friend the other day and discussing with him about prayer and the mind. See, I did something wrong.
I committed… murder. That’s right, I… committed… MURDER.
Now that I have your attention let me explain before S.W.A.T. breaks down my door.
I must start off by explaining something very important for kingdom citizen’s to understand. In law there is an idiomatic antithesis between “the letter of the law” and “the spirit of the law”.
The letter of the law is when you take and obey the literal wording of the law.
The spirit of the law is when you interpret what the original authors of the law intended by the law.
This is so important for us to grasp and understand when we read the bible. Let me explain a real life analogy that I used recently. If I am with my son about to cross the street, I tell him to ‘hold my hand’. Now the letter of the law would interpret from this that he is to hold my hand no matter what. Regardless of circumstances he must never let go, because he must obey the literal wording of what I have said.
The spirit of the law though interprets that the reason I want him to hold my hand is because I don’t want him to get hit by traffic. Both would accomplish the same purpose in most circumstances- but what if while crossing I faint and fall in the street unconscious? If my son holds to the letter of the law, he cannot let go of my hand for any reason, putting him in danger. But if he understands the spirit of the law then he’ll know I didn’t want him to get hit by traffic and so he will let go of my hand and get to the safety of the curb… and hopefully get me help! When we read the bible we must know and understand these two contrasting views- it’s important to know both.
Now let’s look at the bible when Jesus explained the contrast between the two.
21) Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22) But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment
Matthew 5: 27-28
27) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
This is revelation right here. See, there is a difference in what “we say” and what “He says”. Verse 21 of Matthew 5 Jesus is saying (paraphrase) “Look, you say if a man kills a man he is a murderer- BUT I say, if you even hate your brother you have committed murder.” See the problem with the way the pharisees taught was- by the time they realized they had done wrong it’s too late… someone’s dead or a marriage is wrecked. But the spirit of the law is that you have already committed murder in your heart if you hate your brother, or committed adultery if you look upon someone to lust after them. We have to understand God’s laws in order to obey them. If we think we have to kill someone to violate the law, but God’s intent is even the thought of it, then we never repent because of our ignorance. Our understanding has to be of the spirit of the word- so when we have these thoughts we’re convicted in our heart and can turn quickly and change our thinking.
Now, back to my charge. Sometimes it can be hard to pray for your enemies. I’m not talking about the occasional incident of someone who won’t let you yield onto the highway and you blow your horn at them- I’m talking about when you’re tested constantly for a season by someone who is in your life every day. This could be a friend, a neighbor, a boss, etc. You try to be the peace maker but it can feel like they want to destroy you, at least in the season. Now Jesus says to pray for our enemies and do good to them who despitefully use you. Sometimes we can feel like we’re doing this- but is it your words or your heart?
See in my situation with my words I was saying “Lord, bless them and help them- they need you God…”
But somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind I was praying “LORD! REIGN DOWN BLOWS UPON THEIR HEAD WITH BOLTS OF LIGHTING FROM THE HEAVENS!”
This is funny now, but it’s serious. I was trying to pray and concentrate on what I was saying but somewhere in the back of my thinking, though I tried to hide it from myself, I was thinking “Well, God will understand what I really mean.” Sometimes we get the idea because we’re saying one thing that God will do the other thing because of our words… how incorrect. I realized then I had committed murder in my heart because of my aggravation of the situation. Now this whole scenario took place in about the span of 30 seconds… but that’s enough. It’s my understanding of the spirit of God’s word and my seeking of the kingdom and His righteousness that causes me to turn. I love Him, and if I love Him I will keep His commandments.
So… are you guilty of murder? Is there someone you have let get to you? You’ve tried to cover it up by praying for them with words only… but your heart has been resonating something else. Get rid of it now. Repent before that hate turns to bitterness. It’s not kingdom and you lock up heaven when this is in your heart. God CANNOT answer your prayers or release great things in your life when you hold the keys to earth and lock up heaven. It’s His word and His law, so He must follow it. (Matthew 5:24)
Release it now and unlock -(loose)- heaven again in your life.