The new you… living a life of love; part 2
“I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…” (Jesus – Matthew 5:44-45 ESV)
Loving someone is fairly easy – when they are committed to loving you in return. We still have to let go of the notion of being selfless and acquiescing to the needs of someone else. But it is not that challenging when we know that the other person is going to love us back.
But we are not always surrounded by people who love us.
Jesus made it perfectly clear… If we follow Him, there will be opposition – and at times it will not be very civil. But what really defines our commitment to God is not the ability to love those who love us back – it is the ability to show God’s love (and keep showing God’s love!) to someone who finds your very existence, offensive.
I mention this, because our current cultural climate is shifting – drastically! As a humanistic, or (even) atheistic, worldview becomes more prevalent in people’s minds, the view of Christians, and Christianity, is also changing.
Even as brief as twenty years ago, our culture-at-large tolerated Christians, and our “narrow” views (drawn from the Bible). They didn’t agree with us, but as long as we kept our views to ourselves, we could be as Christian as we wanted to be. The climate was tense, but not particularly volatile.
But just in the past few years, our world is rapidly moving in a different direction. Christians used to be considered narrow and rigid. At the most, we were considered simple-minded or idiotic for believing what we believe.
But now our culture is beginning to define Christians differently. We are haters. We are bigots. Our views are mean-spirited and dangerous. We used to be considered as simply wrong. But now we are being considered… evil. And you don’t debate with, or tolarate, evil. You openly oppose it – and (if at all possible)… you eliminate it.
These are the thoughts, and mindset, of an enemy.
We should not be surprised. Jesus warned us this would happen. We were just hoping it would happen sometime in the distant future. Not now. Not in our lifetime. Not effecting our families – or our comfortable little worlds.
A great darkness is coming. And we will be chastised, ridiculed, and persecuted for our commitment to loving Jesus.
But where darkness is greatest – light has the opportunity to shine brightest.
We need to prepare our hearts now. The safe and secure days of the past are quickly fading. We will need to find the depth of our faith, and the height of our love – and willingly choose to love those who are our enemies.
We talked a while back about how the Kingdom of God is about being called to do impossible things – but doing them anyway, because God lives within us. As you may have guessed, loving your enemies is impossible… by any human means.
But we have been given a divine equipping to accomplish miraculous things. The new you is fully capable of loving just as God loves. And He is an expert at loving even those who hate Him.
We all used to be one of those people!
Prayer focus: God, prepare my heart to see all people as You see them – and to love them as You love them!