1 John 2:6, Luke 6:27-36, Romans 9:9-21
Matt Summerfield shares the importance of loving and blessing others even when it seems the hardest thing to do.
In 1 John 2:6, Jesus' closest disciple John, commands us to live our lives like Jesus lived His.
But what does that look like?
If you read the letter from 1 John you can't miss that ultimately John is calling us to live a life of love.
This radical love doesn't just love people who love us. There's no reward in that. Jesus commands us to love our enemies (Luke 6:27-36). And when Jesus uses the word 'Love' here, he uses the Greek Word 'Agape'.
No surprises there, then? Because it's going to demand a huge act of selfless costly, sacrificial love to love people who hate us, curse us or mistreat us.
And maybe today, you don't feel you have an 'enemy' as such but, let's be real, we all have people from time to time who wind us up, upset us, or worse!
This deliberately different love is an active, 'doing' kind of love and Jesus makes this very clear in Luke 6:27. This love 'demands' 3 things.
Firstly, he says that to love your enemies is to do them 'good'. The Greek word is kalos (car-lows) and it means to act honourably and speak well of them. To think the best. When someone behaves badly towards you, your first thought is not that they are a terrible person but you remind yourself that we are all products of our story, our history. The bully has usually been the bullied.
Secondly, Jesus says that we should 'bless our enemies'. The Greek word for bless is eulogeo (you-lar-gay-o). It's interesting to note that this is not the same word that Jesus uses in, for example, the beatitudes. This word blessing means 'to declare something sacred, to cause it to prosper and experience great favour'. So, when we're told that Jesus 'blessed' the five loaves and two fish in the feeding of the 5,000 that's the word the Bible uses - Jesus blessed the loaves and fish, he declared the loaves and fish sacred offering them to God and prayed they would prosper and increase (and they did).
When we pray for our 'enemies' we remind ourselves that their lives are sacred and important to God.
Jesus says love your enemies, do good to them, bless them. Thirdly he commands us to pray for them. The word here is proseuchomai (pras-oocgh-a-my). It conveys the sense of praying with sincerity and conviction.
Not heart-less prayers but heart-felt prayers. That God would help us live this kind of deliberate life and we would pray that God's love would reach out to our enemies, perhaps even through us.
That's the deliberately different kind of life that we're called to live. A life that shines brightly in a dark world that is quicker to judge, condemn and retaliate.
Which is the opposite of what Jesus calls us to do if you read Luke 6. In verse 37 Jesus says, 'do not judge, do not condemn, choose forgiveness'. Live a generously loving life.
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