But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you
I know many of us look at this Scripture and sigh! Oh, no! It's so hard! The Lord recently has worked great wonders in my life to bring me to a fuller understanding of this simple, but difficult Scripture.
We've all had those days where out of nowhere someone acts abusively towards us, and we get mad! We get hopping mad, and we think, 'No, I can't love my enemies. No, I can't pray for those who persecute me!'
Well, let me tell you how God has worked in my life to change that for me.
Recently, I've been dealing with something that was unsettling me and on my mind a lot. I won't go into details, but it is - what it is. Now the Bible tells us to forgive those who trespass against us, etc. And people, I know, because I've been there that it's soooo hard!
But very recently God convicted me in a way that I became very able to love my enemies, and pray for those who persecute me.
First off, I have the ability to do that not because I'm holier than someone else, and most definitely not because I'm better than someone else. God gave me this ability through the Holy Spirit that lives within me. He did the work I received the blessing.
The Bible tells us at 2 Timothy 1:14:
By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
And at 1 Corinthians 6:19:
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.
And at 1 Corinthians 3:16:
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
And at 1 John 2:27:
But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.
Did I give you enough Scripture to prove to you that the Holy Spirit lives within us?
Most of us know the fruit of the Spirit, but we don't actually get to the "fruit" part, because we don't access the Spirit of God that lives within us.
The fruit of the Spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Do you have peace? Do you have joy? Do you have love? Do you have kindness? Do you have gentleness?
Do you say like I used to, "Well, yeah, I try to have peace, joy, love, kindness etc. etc, etc, but sometimes I fail" And to be perfectly honest, I do fail! A lot!
But then I remember that God gave me the Holy Spirit as a gift of love. He gave me the Spirit, in order to display those qualities that are the "fruit."
One of the biggest stumbling blocks in our lives is our minds. The mind can be stumbling block if we let it. One of the biggest strongholds that Satan loves to deceive us with is the mind. Now I'm not talking about craziness, or demon possession. I'm talking about Satan being a liar! You know he is!
He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.You say, Oh yeah! Satan is a liar. I knew that! But do you believe him when he tells you lies? Do you believe that you can never forgive someone who's done you wrong? Do you believe that you can't come to love your enemies? If you do - then tell Satan to get lost! Really? Yes!
I've heard people say that they can't lose weight because they can't resist certain food. Yes, I know! Yes, that's true (if you let it be true)! But who gave you that lie? Who told you that you couldn't resist that cookie? Who told you that when you eat one cookie, you have to eat the whole box? Come on! Be determined! You are a Spirit-filled, born again, saved child of God, and you're going to let a cookie get the best of you? If so, then you certainly aren't going to be able to withstand the devil, are you? Yes, you can!
We condition ourselves to believe all those little lies that Satan puts into our minds and heart. We think of how evil some people can be. We've thought about how hurt we are when someone says something about us that isn't true. We think about how unfair it seems that some can do certain things and never be reprimanded or scolded for their actions. See, the whole point is first off - Don't compare yourselves to other people!
Don't fall into that trap! Don't compare yourself to anyone! It's hard! It's really hard! I've done it! It's torture! You know?
"They can get away with that, and I can't."
"How come they get all the good things in life, and they don't even have any faith?"
"That's not fair. They've been promoted (or patted on the back, or put upon a pedestal) and what they're doing is wrong, wrong, wrong!"
When we give into Satan's lies, we do just that - we become as little babies who whine and complain all the time. Satan loves when you do that! He's looking to continue that attack, if you let him. Whining and complaining is the biggest thing we all do (myself included) that is so destructive. Stop whining! Stop complaining! (I'm not yelling that to you all, I'm reminding myself of it!)
Have you ever prayed to God to give you a gentle heart, a meek disposition, peace, joy and all those other "fruits" of the Spirit. You don't need to! You have those qualities within you, because the Holy Spirit lives within you. Don't listen to Satan's lies!
filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:11
Whenever I start to feel myself get into that old habit of comparing myself to others I repeat Philippians 1:11 to myself over and over again. You know - after awhile it sinks into my thick skull, and I start believing the truth, not Satan's lies! It doesn't matter how I stack up to someone else, because I am "filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ - to the glory and praise of God." Remember that!
The next thing that God convicted me to do is to take myself out of the equation. What do I mean by that? Well, if someone or something has upset you - then instead of thinking of the hurt or issues that problem bring, think of the issue or problem OR person in relationship to God without "you" in the picture. Think of what their actions are or what the problem would be if you weren't there smack dab in the middle of it. Hard? Yes, very hard to do, but if you pray that God show you this, He will! When you are no longer the target, or in the center of the issue - you will see things more from God's point of view better than ever.
Suddenly that person or thing doesn't hold any power over you anymore. It/They become a person to pray for - to love - to enlighten them of the joys, peace, comfort we can find in the Lord and the Holy Spirit that we are already experiencing. You come to realize also that the person/problem isn't going to be any different whether it was you or not. The problem lies in the fact that Satan utilizes every opportunity he can to separate us from God. But don't let him! Let me repeat that: Don't let him!
Become determined in your mindset that you won't fall prey to Satan and his machinations. Become determined that you will be obedient to God and God only! Become determined to fight a good fight! Become determined to stop listening to the lies!