Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new Spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
If 'The Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and Spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart' (Hebrews 4:12), then the Sermon on the Mount is such a Sword. It cuts our selfish soul from God's Spirit within us. It bends us in new ways--toward the marrow, which is the core of our faith.
Called 'The Great Manifesto,' 'The Gospel in three chapters' and 'Our Medicine,' the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) is the longest and most quoted Teaching of Jesus. It is a heart-breaking, mind-bending, hard Word to stomach. After Chapter 5, we're sweating with the impossibility of these Words. Consider Its concluding sentence:
'Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect' (Matthew 5:48). How can we be perfect? Note the verb applied to God's perfection: 'is' as in present tense. Note the verb applied to our own perfection: 'shall be' as in future tense. In other words, by believing His Words and walking in Them to our best ability, we shall become perfect.
'Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the Right Hand of the throne of God' (Hebrews 12:2). But how can we fix our eyes on Jesus? Isn't He currently invisible on Earth?
No! He is clearly visible, because He is 'The Word of God' (Revelation 19:13). And the Word of God includes the Sermon on the Mount. You can see Jesus this very minute. Open your Bible. There He is.
'I do not believe there is a problem in this country or the world today which could not be settled if approached through the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount' (President Harry S. Truman).
'When your country and mine shall get together on the teachings laid down by Christ in this Sermon on the Mount, we shall have solved the problems not only of our countries but those of the whole world' (Gandhi to Lord Irwin, former British Viceroy to India).
The Sermon on the Mount begins in the heart, and God gives us a choice to believe It--or not. As soon as we decide to believe It, impossibility begins to become actuality. A tiny Seed takes root in our heart and begins to grow.
To Be Continued...
Overview of the Sermon on the Mount: http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/sermon-on-the-mount.html?p=2
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Sermon On The Mount series.