Posted by: mikenicholsblog | June 27, 2014

reflect The Life

We must imitate Christ’s life, and his ways
if we are to be truly enlightened and set
free from the darkness of our own hearts.
Let it be the most important thing we do,
then, to reflect the life of Jesus Christ.
— Thomas à Kempis

Along your journey, have you ever said about another person, “I know God wants me to love him/her, but I just don’t like them?” The truth is that all of us have people around us who are hard to like; those who wound, annoy, and even anger us. Good Christian speak says love your enemies and forgive them. The Christian’s reality finds this to be extremely hard to do. So what’s the answer?

Luke 6:27-28 (NIV)
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Luke 6:27-28 (MSG)
“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person.”

In the very words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount, we are given the answer. Christ gave concise, simple instructions, leaving no doubt about our responsibility. He told us to love our enemies and do good to people who hate us … but do we really have that capacity within us?  If we “try,” even with our whole selves, we will fall short every time.  But this capacity is absolutely available to us, when we submit that same whole self to the Spirit of the living God that dwells within us.

A study of Christ’s life through the words He speaks (the very journey we are on together this year) is a perfect source of guidance as well.  We see vivid, clear and simple examples to follow in how Jesus responded to the insults of life. Seek out the details of His earthly life, and you will get an up close and personal view of true love, forgiveness, and caring in the face of opposition and hatred. Thomas à Kempis gives the challenge to reflect the life of Christ, and God has given all Christ-followers His Spirit to guide us in doing just that. Don’t ask yourself; “Do I have the capacity…?” Yield to God’s Spirit, and show the world the power of truly loving your enemies.

Furthermore, we are told to bless those who curse us, and pray for those who mistreat us. A more typical response for us is to “bless” them out, and hope God’s wrath on them (just being honest). But take a really close look at what Christ did on the cross. In the darkest hours in human history, He obediently absorbed the full power of evil and sin. Yet while hanging on the cross, He prayed for the ones that put Him there. He died for the ones who put Him there. He died for all of us!

It’s Friday, and you may have experienced some enemy hatred-type feelings this week. Is it possible that your sacrificial willingness to love, pray and bless that enemy could be used to soften a heart, change a life, and affect eternity? If we accept that Christ lived this way, and we want to reflect His life, it only makes sense that we would live with love toward those who … really don’t love us.

Is there someone who the Spirit is prompting you to forgive, bless and even pray for? Why not obey today?

yeam_2014


Responses

  1. Thank you for this post. It’s terrible how quickly we forget in Jesus’s last moments in the flesh he prayed for his enemies. I often have to remind myself to be slow to anger and quick to listen. Please Jesus give me the strength and courage to be who you made me to be today and always.


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