Friday, June 27, 2014
June 27 – A necessary step closer to the Holy Spirit
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 HCSB)
The conditions of this promise fly straight in the face of what our flesh wants to do. Love an enemy? Do good to those who hurt you? Lend and don’t expect anything back? That sounds so painfully unfair! But fulfilling these commands of God can be done – the right way or the wrong way. Either we show kindness to our enemies in the flesh in defeat, weakness and low self-esteem, caving into the thought that we don’t deserve anything good from God anyway, or we can act in the Spirit, who doesn’t condone the evil that our enemies have done, but understands the intense power of goodness in the midst of darkness.
God does not ask us to become doormats or to enable people who do evil to continue hurting others. Doing this God’s way means rising above the evil that is done to you, so that you aren’t dragged down into the same pit of selfishness that your enemies are in. Loving your enemies strips the demons of their power, and protects you from the destruction that unforgiveness and grudges bring about. Giving, even though you know they won’t reciprocate, is placing something holy into their hands that can only bring about change for the good.
We have to remember that God sees everything and works out all things for the good of those who love Him – one of our promises in the past few months. Obey your Father, and don’t worry about responding to your friends, family and even enemies in reaction to how they treat you. Our eyes need to be on Him first. Haven’t we all needed mercy at times in our lives when we weren’t behaving well? Aren’t we all in debt to God who loved us even when we were filthy with selfishness and sin? If we are blessed with His love because He had mercy on us, it is only right that we show mercy to others as well.
Although we should do all of this merely because it is right, God lovingly gives us a reward! “Your reward will be great…” not only in heaven, but right now. We will become more like Him, have more protection from evil, have more authority to fight the devil, have greater wisdom and sensitivity to hear His voice, bear the fruit of the Spirit, just for starters. Though this is guaranteed to kill your flesh, it’s a necessary step to becoming alive to the Holy Spirit.