After finishing the Alpha course before Christmas, I was definitely ready to dive in deeper. As well as signing up for classes to prepare for Confirmation in March (exciting!), I decided to buy a few books to learn more. The first one I chose was one recommended in the Alpha handbook (and written by the creator of the course).
The book takes to pieces Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and explains how each piece relates to ‘real life’, and how we should put it into practice each and every day. It reads kind of like a self-help book, giving you practical steps for making a better life. But instead of the usual self-help books trying to help you get more money or success, the sole purpose of this book is to help you become closer to Jesus.
I found the book very revealing, so many times I sat thinking, ‘that’s me’, making me realise how many ways I’m falling short of living a ‘good’ life. But thankfully, that doesn’t mean the end. The book shows you just how much of God’s love and grace is shown within the Sermon on the Mount. Parts of the text that I’ve previously skipped over or not paid attention to are revealed in much greater depth and my eyes were opened.
There are so many quotes that I could pick out as my favourite, but the one that has stuck with me most was from towards the end of the book, and it grabbed me so much that I read it multiple times before moving on:
“Many have pointed out that when reading the Sermon on the Mount, we recognise that we cannot possibly live up to it without help from outside. The standards it sets are unattainable and therefore we need the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He alone can enable us to live up to the pattern of life Jesus has set out. Jesus promises us that God will give his Holy Spirit to those who ask him. Only as we repent, put our faith in Jesus, and receive the Holy Spirit will we be able to put into practice the words of Jesus.