Life with Jesus is so radically different than the life we would live on our own.
It’s part of the reality that in Christ, we are a NEW creation. We have been given a NEW identity as a child of God and that identity redefines how we live and interact with others. This is what makes life with Jesus so beautiful and yet so challenging.
In this this week’s passage from Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus once again invites us into this life. Though, honestly, this one seems a lot more challenging than beautiful.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Love my enemies?! Talk about living radically different than the world around us.
I don’t know about you, but this is one of those sayings that after hearing Jesus say it, I wish He hadn’t. I want to try to find some way around it, to come up with some kind of excuse of why it shouldn’t apply to me and my life.
But Jesus is clear, “If you want be like your Heavenly Father – if you want to live in this new identity of child of God that I have graciously given you – then love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
This is what it looks like to live as a child of God because this is what our loving Heavenly Father does. He shows abundant grace and love even to those who oppose Him, who reject Him, who do not listen to Him. People like you and me. We all at one time opposed Him. We all have at times rejected Him. Yet, He continues to shower His love and grace upon you and me.
Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” You may not like it. You may think it sounds ridiculous and impossible. But God has promised there is beauty in living life this way.
Trust Him. He is faithful!
As you consider this passage this week, think through these questions:
1. What are some ways we try to get around this (what Jesus tells us in this passage) or half-heartedly try to follow it?
2. What is keeping you from living this out in your life right now? Pray that God would help you move past this barrier and empower you to show love in a practical way to at least one of your “enemies” in the coming weeks.
Connect with more information about the Love For All Weekly Devotion and additional resources at SPLDECATUR.ORG/LOVEFORALL and SHARE your thoughts, questions, and prayers with us HERE.