[CF Devotionals] 2008-02-08 - I Have a Problem

Matt 5:44-48 "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you 45 in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? 47 "And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect (NASB)

I have this one little problem, and I'm going to let you in on it. You have to promise not to tell, and I'm sure you would have never guessed this. Well, ... I'm not perfect.

The King James translation renders the word "persecute" in verse 44 as "despitefully use". There are people in my life that I find a challenge. It doesn't matter who they are. That's not important here. I find them difficult. Now this is not the same as someone who uses you. That situation is even more frustrating and offensive. To have someone deliberately take advantage of any of us is something I'm sure we could all live without having happen.

God tells us to love them, as unimaginable as that might be. We are to love those who would take unfair advantage of us. We are to love those who use us as sheilds to hide from someone in the office, the neighbor who plays the drums when we have company, or the superior who drops his work on our desk. Let's take it to the next level. How do you love someone who might actually persecute you to the point of putting a gun in your face because you claim to be a Christian? It doesn't happen often in America, but it does in places in this world daily. How does someone forgive that and love the person who threatens their life?

It starts with remembering that God loved us while we were His enemies (Rom 5:10). He loved us enough to die in our place!

Pray for that person in the office. Don't make a fuss about it, and don't tell them. Just quietly ask God to work in that person's life. Pray for their salvation if they don't know Jesus as their Savior. If you can pray for that one faithfully, imagine how easy it will be to pray for your friends and loved ones. Imagine the impact on your life if God choses to work in the life you are praying to have changed.

Be willing to have your own life changed. There's something that might surprise you. It gets easier when we realize that we have a problem. We're not perfect.

Grace & Peace,

[email mike] jmhoskins@gmail.com