I haven’t been studying scriptures for years and years, but in the past few I have come across some really challenging edicts made by Christ. In my life this one made here in Luke is definitely the most challenging.
“But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:27-31 NIV)
Jesus literally wants us to surrender our entitlement, our rights, our need to be respected by others. Really? I mean that is SO counter cultural that it is hard to embrace.
For me the simple basis of his direction makes it impossible to wiggle out of following. If I am to be one of HIS followers, a soldier in His army, then this characterizes my response to my enemies in an increasing way each day. The real joy to be found for me in such statements is the obvious realization that this can be done. He is living proof.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”
(John 14:12 NIV)
However, it CANNOT be done without the Holy Spirit.
Among other things, The Holy Spirit wants to empower you to:
1. Love when you are hated.
2. Bless when you are cursed.
3. Give freely and without expectation.
Jesus further tells us our motivation for such a response:
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35, 36 NIV)
I know for many of you reading this, this is basic stuff. Is it? If it is so basic then you have this down pat and the holy Spirit has worked in you to the point where these responses flow from you like water from a spring. I am guessing that most of us still struggle with our “flesh” rising up and could use a bit of back to basics boot camp.
Jesus is such a loving Drill Instructor, but the orders are still the same. He has laid the standard and is now gently but with all authority in Heaven, “Fall In.”
John 13:35 >>> They will know you are His disciple by your Love.
We are in a Love War.
Will we choose to OUT-LOVE our enemies?
Love Now. Love Hard.
What is the latest love war you’ve been engaged in? Describe a time when you have needed to channel the Holy Spirit to Love Hard.