Google+ 02/11/14 How High Will We Go?

Matthew 5:43-46

 

“You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'

But I say, love your enemies!

Pray for those who persecute you!

In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven.

For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good,

And he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 

 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that?

Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.

 

In part two of our eighteen-part devotion series entitled, Sharing God's Love!" we hear directly from Jesus through Matthew, the tax collector turned apostle!  Jesus is preaching the totality of God's love.  He proclaims that we should love our enemies.  He doesn't say we should like them a little or tolerate them.  Jesus goes one step farther and tells us that we must pray for them!  Then Christ lowers the boom on all of us that sometimes want to play church.  He says that by doing these things, we will be true children of God.  O boy, He would have to throw that in!  I must confess that I have struggled with this passage most of my life.  I will also tell you that in the last twelve months, God has given me a great peace and understanding of this important Scripture lesson.  Love breeds love.  Hate breeds hate.  Indifference breeds indifference.  Said another way, your ALTITUDE is determined by your ATTITUDE!  While Jesus walked this earth, He was constantly attempting to show people God's agape love and how to share it with each other.  Remember what Jesus said when He was asked about which of the commandments was the greatest?  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself!"  Today we discover that all our "neighbors" must be loved, including our enemies.  As a pastor with a heart for God and His people, I am often attacked by the world.  To be honest, I have many enemies for different reasons.  I refuse to do things that simply aren't in the Bible and I insist that our church conforms to God's Word at every turn.  People love the "warm and fuzzy" side of God.  They treat Him like Grandpa.  It is the things like today's Scripture that cause people to not be true children of God.  When times get tough, the "fair-weather" Christians run the other direction.  When we pray for our enemies and love them, we don't have time to gossip about them.  We don't develop anger and hate for them.  We don't become indifferent to the world and believe anything we do for Christ doesn't matter.  Only by praying and loving our enemies will we achieve more "altitude" for Jesus.  "How High Will We Go?"