Daily Devotional

"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you..."
Matthew 5:44 (NKJV)

I don’t know about you, but when someone wrongs me my first thought is not to bless, do good for, or even pray for them. In my human condition my instinctive reaction is to get mad, and then get even. And if I was to guess that is most people’s reaction or at least some variation of that. The heart of our sin nature causes us to be very selfish and “me oriented.” If you need proof of this just observe any small child or toddler. They have no societal moral constructs holding them back yet, just instinct, and it is all about them, what they want, what they need. The temper tantrum is a perfect example of this selfish outlook. At that age that’s all they know. We are all born sinners and we learn over time that we should care for others, but it doesn’t come naturally. The flesh says “it is all about me.”

Now this command, and it is a command by the way, not a suggestion, says to take that idea of caring for others to the extreme. We are to love our enemies, love those who hate and want to destroy us! How can we do that? Do good things for those that hate us? Pray for those who persecute and use us? Due to our sinful nature, I don’t think this is something we alone are capable of doing, at least not with some selfish motivation. It’s the Spirit working in us and through us that gives us that capacity.

However I think that in order for the Spirit to work through us in this way we have to have our hearts in the right place. We must be in the Word, keeping our mind focused on things above rather than the things below. If our focus is on God rather than on earthly things, responding to the Spirit’s leading in our life becomes much easier. This is how we are to be the light and love of God. We are to love people, not just the easy to love, but also the seemingly impossible to love. But we need His help, so pray for your enemies but also pray that He would grant you the power to love those that don’t love you, that hate you, and that persecute you. We are called to be different, and this is how we show it.
New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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