Tuesday, May 30, 2017

To You Who Are Ready For Truth



During my quiet time I read through Luke 6:27-35 and the Holy Spirit would not let me forget the very first sentence. "But to you who are willing to listen..." or as the Message Bibles states "to you who are ready for truth..."


Jesus is giving us a hint. He is preparing us for some difficult truth. A truth that requires ears of a person that is willing to listen.  And then He says it...




"Love your enemies!"

Is this a typo? You could not possibly want us to love someone we do not like. A person we have issues with. This is so opposite of what the world calls us to do. This is on the flip-side of what our feelings tell us to do.

If someone is my enemy, my initial response is not to love them or even talk to them. Unless it involves me putting them in their place. Letting them know who is right. Getting the last word.

Man, I really need Jesus (and so do you). I'm so thankful that He is our example.

"Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you." {Luke 6: 27-28}

Wait...hold on one second, Jesus. People are going to think I am weak. That I allow people to run over me. That I can't take up for myself. I thought you wanted me to lead from a place of Your strength? You are all powerful. I should not have to roll over and let them get away with anything.

This is the conversation I have with myself sometimes and it might sound familiar to you.

When in the middle of a heated argument with someone, what is your natural response? Get upset? Yell back or walk away? Ignore them? Talk about them?

Have you ever tried to hold your tongue and not say anything back? Better yet, respond back in love. It's almost impossible, in our own strength. But with God we can...

Love our enemies.

Jesus goes on to explain that if you only love those who love you. Why should you get credit for that? Everyone can do that. If you are only good to those who are good to you why should you get credit? Even sinners do that! {Luke 6: 32-34}

We are called to be set apart, different. The light. The salt. He is asking us, those that are willing to listen, whose hearts are prepared for the truth, to love our enemies. I love the way the Message Bible explains this:

To you who are ready for truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.


Then how do we do this impossible task? The not so simple answer, with God's Unfailing Love.


Pray

Respond with the energies of prayer for that person. Right in the moment say a prayer of love (to yourself). Or out loud, whatever you are led to do.  Add them to your prayer list. Say a prayer every day for them and for their family. Eventually, God will give you the love to genuinely give to them. In His timing, He will give you the next steps. His love fills us up so that people will receive from the overflow.

 

Stand

Don't avoid them. Don't say something that could possibly hurt them. Understand that they could be hurting. Demonstrate mercy and compassion. Express the unfailing love that Jesus gives to us daily. How often do we offend God? This question puts me right in my place. How could I not be loving when I know that God is loving me through my mess?

 

Give More

Give more than what the person is taking. The verse says if someone takes your shirt, give them the coat. In fact, gift wrap it. Oh, Jesus, your thoughts are not our thoughts and your ways are not our ways! We will be placed in situations where we are called to be more, give more, do more. You know, like the saying- be the bigger person!

 

Practice the Servant Life


We all want that Kingdom position. That abundant life. But we forget that Jesus was constantly the servant. On this earth He served. He washed feet. He healed. He loved. THIS should be our daily practice. Anytime God allows difficult situations and complicated people to enter our life He is giving us the opportunity to practice love using His strength.

If you are thinking to yourself, nope. This isn't me. I can't do this. I'm not about that life. I want to do what I want to do. Then you aren't ready for the truth. You aren't willing to hear.

Our hearts have to be prepared for truth. If you are having a difficult time accepting what God tells us to do, spend time in His Presence. Ask Him to help you. Admit that you are unable to do it alone. He loves a surrendered heart.

 

 

Prayer


God, I am unable to love as you love. I am unable to do what You are asking me to do. Prepare my heart so that I can be ready to receive your teachings. Help me to see people as you do. Help me to love my enemies. Because You love all of your children. Help me to practice the servant life so that Your will can be done in my life and on this earth. In the name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.


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