Command of Christ # 10

Hello! It's another typical day in Oregon...rain, sunshine, rain, sunshine, hail, rain, sunshine.... : )

This week's command is to 'Love Your Enemies.' Isn't it just like God to command something completely opposite of our natural inclinations?! I know I am often tempted to backlash or talk bad about my enemies, but rarely does the idea pop into my head to show love to my enemies! Matthew 5:43-44 says, "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies; bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you."

Who exactly are our enemies? For many of us, no one is trying plot our death or is even actively being malicious towards us. How can we apply this to our present day 'enemies'?

1) Political enemies: Our current government openly stands for what is against God and therefore against Christians. Many of our government leaders stand for unbiblical ideas and seek to erase God and His Word from having any influence in this country. While we may be tempted to rally for our rights and criticize President Obama, Jesus has called us to love our political 'enemies', pray for them, bless them, and do good to them. "I exhort, therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority" (I Timothy 2:1-2). Make it a point to pray for our president and his marriage and family; that he would have wisdom. Pray for your state representatives, that their hearts would be turned to God's Word. Write letters to government leaders thanking them for investing their lives for our country. How else can you bless our political 'enemies'?

2) Religious enemies: We are in a day that exalts man and has forgotten God. The majority of the people we come in contact with throughout the day are not saved. They are living in darkness and do not walk in the truth. Many openly oppose Christianity and actively blaspheme God and His Word. My natural response to the outspoken unsaved is to comment about how foolish they are, how rude, how selfish, etc. Once again, God's ways are not my ways and God has to remind me that we were all that 'unbeliever' at some point, who rejected God for our own ways, but God in His mercy plucked us up from the path to hell and put us on the path to life eternal. Are we in ourselves any better than the atheist? Are their sins too big for the cross of Jesus? Let's pray for the lost around us, bless our neighbors who reject God, do good works to those who openly oppose us.

I went skiing for the first time last week and had signed up for a lesson. Since we went night skiing, there was not a lot of people around and I ended up getting a private lesson! My middle-aged female instructor walked up and her first questions really surprised me! I was dressed different than the normal ski-bunny and she asked me all sorts of questions like if I was Muslim. I said, 'Oh no! I am a Christian!" She kept asking me questions about what I did, if I had a degree, what my mom did, etc... I was surprised because I thought she would want to know if I had skiied before or if I had experience on the mountain. I soon found out that she was quite liberal and had moved from San Fransisco to Seattle, which are pretty liberal climates. At first I was thinking that maybe this 2 hour lesson was going to be more like a battle on political correctness, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to 'let my light shine.' I found out some things we had in common (which ended up being a lot) and tried to be joyful and respectful. We ended up having a great time and at the end of the lesson I was able to share with her about Jesus and eternity. We talked for awhile after my lesson and she was very receptive. I know God ordained that private lesson and was asking me to love my 'enemy' even if I didn't want to at first. If you think of it, pray for Ms. Wong and that she would trust Jesus as her Savior.

Loving our enemies does not just mean that we should tolerate our current leaders until they get re-elected or 'coexist' with non-believers; this command is calling us to go beyond ourselves and show love. It calls for action.

-Who are some political 'enemies' in my life that I can pray for or write to?
-Who are some religous 'enemies' in my life that I can minister to?
-Have I asked God to make me a channel of His love?
-Do I continue to do good to my enemies even when I do not see changes in them?

"If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink, for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good" (Rom. 12:20-21).

Some notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ journal and pocket guide.

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