‘Probing Deeper’ Meditations: 14. Heart Obedience?
Mt 5:44 “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
Following up on yesterday, wrong attitudes will stop God’s renewing process. We often think of enemies as atheists, communists, those against us etc., but in fact they are anyone who raises hostility in my mind. There are many groups or individuals today who are hostile to the Christian Faith and it is so easy to be hostile back. BUT! There it is, we are called to do two things in respect of anyone who might fit the description of ‘enemy’ – even people who just bug us, get on our nerves, or even threaten us by their confidence in the Lord. First, love them – attitude change (that will be needing grace). Second, pray for them, which will also bring about change of attitude and open up doors of blessing.
Right, let’s step back and look at this more realistically for that’s what we keep needing to do if we are probing deeper. There are two basic and fundamental issues about being a Christian. The first is that we must not pretend we are something we are not. We ARE redeemed sinners but that does mean we need to recognise the ‘sinner’ potential bit and realise that without God’s grace we will continue to struggle with sin. Faith brings us to the place where we can say with the apostle Paul, we are no longer slaves to sin, (Rom 6:6) nevertheless it is a battle that continues to be fought.
The second issue is that we are supernatural beings empowered by the Holy Spirit. Now put these two things together and we have a situation where a) we struggle with people but b) we have been given power to overcome that struggle. So, yes, there are people who at first sight either raise hostility in me or maybe even fear, but as we abide in the Lord, as Jesus spoke about in Jn 15:5 etc. we will bear fruit – peace, love, compassion.
And what is the outworking of that? We no longer have ‘enemies’! They may view us as enemies (let’s be realistic – for we are upholders of truth and righteousness and they may not like that!) but as far as we are concerned they are lost, confused, and mixed up needy people. This is not looking down on them but realistically seeing them for what they are, and we view them with compassion as we pray for them. We do pray for them don’t we? This is where the obedience bit we considered much earlier comes in. It demands we climb over the mountains of fear and defensiveness and so on, and get to a place where we view ALL others through Jesus’ eyes. The political world of recent years has become polarized and seriously hostile. There is NO room in that for you and me. When did you last pray for the party you don’t agree with?