A Life that is Loving to Enemies

Since we have been so loved that God gave His only begotten Son for us we also ought to be loving in the same way that He has loved us.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

For God so loved He gave and He loved us when we were His enemies.

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

In the same way, He has called us to give our lives and to love our enemies and those who do not love us as well as those who are more loving. If we only love those who love us then how are we any different than the rest of the world?

Matthew 5:44-46 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so 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. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

God’s love is demonstrated to the world when we love sinners. His love is demonstrated to the world through us.

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

He reconciles people to Himself but uses us to share His love so that they can hear His Word, so that they might be saved.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Love your enemies and do good and your reward will be great. You will also be called a child of God.

Luke 6:35,36 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

A Life that is Be-Loved

You are the Lord’s beloved and He is your Beloved and the One whom you delight in if you belong to Him.

Song of Solomon 6:3 “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine,
He who pastures his flock among the lilies.”

Just as the shepherd loves the sheep and little lambs and would sometimes carry them on his shoulders so the Lord also, who is your Good Shepherd, carries you between His shoulders because you are His beloved. He wants you to be loved by Him.

Deuteronomy 33:12 …“May the beloved of the Lord dwell in security by Him, Who shields him all the day, And he dwells between His shoulders.”

The Lord wants you to know with all of your heart that He is your Savior and will save His beloved. He will save you and will answer you.

Psalm 108:6 That Your beloved may be delivered, Save with Your right hand, and answer me!

Just as Jesus was the Beloved of the Father so you are Jesus’ beloved.

Mark 1:11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

Being is more important than doing. We need to be right with the Lord before we can do what is right. Doing what is right must come after being in a love relationship with the Lord, otherwise, we will seek to earn God’s love. Doing is a response to being. If you belong to Christ then you are His Beloved and He wants you to be-loved by Him before you do…whatever good works he has for you. The Father was well pleased with Jesus before Jesus began His earthly ministry. You too, must learn to be-loved by Him so that whatever you “do” is an overflow of who you are in Christ. If you belong to Him then there is nothing you can do to cause Him to love you more. He wants you to rest in His love and learn to be-loved by Him. If we struggle in believing that He really loves us then we will struggle in loving Him back.

I John 4:19 We love, because He first loved us.

All that we do should be in response to His love for us. All that we do is an expression of His great love. There is no greater love than this, to lay down your life for your friends. He laid down His life for you so that you can lay down your life for others so that others may see Christ in you.

John 15:12,13 This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

Do you need to know His love more? To the degree that you love others is to the degree that you have experienced His love for you.

I John 3:16,17 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

 

A Life of Grace

Grace does not excuse you from your sin or give you the freedom to do what you want. Grace is what the Lord gives to the humble that allows that person to do what is right. In the Bible grace was a blessing that came before or after the commands of what the Lord wants His people to do or be.

James 4:4-6 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

Grace is not something that we give ourselves when we mess up and sin. God gives grace to the humble and His grace is what enables us to not be crushed by our guilt but to be able to get back up and do what He has called us to do. God gives grace to the humble. Humility is confessing your sin to the Lord and your need for Him. Grace allows us to be faithful to the Lord so that we will not be called an adulteress by our flirting with and friendship with the world. He gives a greater grace than what the world has to offer. Grace is what sets you free from your bondage to sin.

Ezra 9:8 But now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us an escaped remnant and to give us a peg in His holy place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our bondage.

You were in bondage to sin before you became a Christian. He saved you from your sin and sins and the consequences of them. Your sin is your desire to be your own god and the sins are all of the snares that you became caught in by trying to be your own god.

Ephesians 2:8,9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Again, our redemption is through His blood and forgiveness of our sins, according to the riches of His grace towards us. God is gracious towards us because of what Christ did on the cross. He took our sin.

Ephesians 1:7,8a In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.

Grace increases when we sin. This means that there is nothing that is beyond His grace to allow you to come back to Him. His grace is what allows us to come back when we have fallen so that we can be restored in our fellowship with Him.

Romans 5:20,21 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Grace reigns through righteousness to eternal life. Eternal life is knowing the Lord. If you are growing in grace then you will be growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

John 17:3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

Grace is with those who love the Lord Jesus Christ with a pure love. A love that obeys Him and keeps His commandments.

Ephesians 6:24 Grace be with all those who love our Lord Jesus Christ with incorruptible love.

Are you growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord? Is your love for Him incorruptible and pure? Or are you still struggling with friendship with the world? He loves you and jealousy desires the Spirit that He has made to dwell in you. Ask the Lord to help you be faithful to Him. Put yourself around Christians who love Him rather than the world. The Lord will help you and give you more grace to be faithful to Him if you will humble yourself before Him.

 

A Life with Desires Fulfilled

Will the Lord really fulfill your desires or will He only give you what you need but not really desire? These are questions that people ask. What does His Word say about our desires? The Lord may fulfill your desires but the sooner you realize that your desires will never fulfill you the more content and satisfied you will be in life. Jesus Christ is the only who can fulfill you. He is enough. However He delights in giving us gifts.

Psalm 20:4,5 May He grant you your heart’s desire
And fulfill all your purpose!
We will sing for joy over your victory,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

May He grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your purpose. May He also fulfill all of your petitions. He does want you to ask Him for what is on your heart. The fact is though, most of us don’t really know what we want. We think that a lot of things will make us happy and so we long for those things. However, once you realize that He loves you perfectly and has a purpose for your life then you can learn to rest in Him and wait on Him. Don’t focus on your desires but focus on Him. That is the only way to be free from our desires controlling us.

Psalm 84:11,12 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

Seek Him with all of your heart and seek to walk in His ways and obey Him. He will not withhold any good thing from you. How blessed is the person who will rest in His love for them. Do not fret. He says that He will not disappoint the one who trusts in Him.

Psalm 22:5 To You they cried out and were delivered;
In You they trusted and were not disappointed.

If He withholds something from you it is because at this time it is not good for you. You must trust Him. Learn to delight yourself in Him as you learn to trust Him.

Psalm 37:3,4 Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

This phrase “cultivate faithfulness” means to feed on His faithfulness. He is faithful even when we are not. You can trust him. If you will only trust Him completely then He will give you far more than your desires. Learn to do what is right and learn His ways. He will act on your behalf and meet you.

Isaiah 64:4,5a For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear,
Nor has the eye seen a God besides You,
Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him.
You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness,
Who remembers You in Your ways.

He is able to do far more than what we ask or think. Trust Him.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,

Be glad in Him and let your joy be in Him. Let Him be your glory and the One is whom you rejoice. He will meet you with the blessings of good things and then you will know that He is God and does what He pleases. He is the One who gives life.

Psalm 21:1-6 O Lord, in Your strength the king will be glad,
And in Your salvation how greatly he will rejoice!
You have given him his heart’s desire,
And You have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah.
For You meet him with the blessings of good things;
You set a crown of fine gold on his head.
He asked life of You,
You gave it to him,
Length of days forever and ever.
His glory is great through Your salvation,
Splendor and majesty You place upon him.
For You make him most blessed forever;
You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence.

Only the Lord can do this in a person’s life. He can satisfy you and He can bring you to the place of total surrender of your desires and your will. Ask Him to help you and to do His work in your life. He wants to bless you but He knows that you need to delight in the Blessor rather than the blessing. He wants you to worship Him and to not have any other idols. If He is not first in our life then whatever else is first is what we worship. And if He is not first then it does not matter if he is second or forty second. He must be first in our life and we must seek Him before anything else.

A Life that Is Joyful

A life that is joyful is a life that is full of joy. The Lord wants us to be full of joy and He tells us how to have that kind of life. When He walked on earth He said to His disciples that He spoke these things to them that their joy may be made full. What are these things?

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

When we learn to abide, which means live, in His love then our joy will be made full and His joy will be in us. How do we learn to live in His love? He tells us in His Word.

John 15:9-10 Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

The way we learn to keep His commandments is to abide in His Word. The one who abides in His Word and His Words abide in him will also abide in His love. He wants you to abide in Him and His Words abide in you. The Lord has some amazing promises for the people who abide in His Word and His Words abide in them. He says that they can ask whatever they wish! Who among us would not love to see our prayers answered and also to be able to ask whatever we wish? When the reward is great then it puts a greater value on the command.

John 15:7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Do you believe that if you abide in Him and His words abide in you that you can ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you? Do you have any unfulfilled wishes? You might say that it must be according to His will but that phrase is not in this promise. It says that you can ask what you wish and it will be done for you. The Lord also says that if you do this then you will bear much fruit and the Father will be glorified.

John 15:8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.

To abide in His Word and His Words abide in you means that you live in His Word and His Words live in you. When they live in you then you and His Word become one and His Word is expressed through your life. In other words, since the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, Jesus will dwell among others through you. You will keep His commandments because they are so much a part of you. This is how Jesus lived when He was on earth.

Psalm 40:7,8 Then I said, “Behold, I come;
In the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”

When His Word is in you and you abide in His Word then it will be your delight to do His will. When you delight in something then it becomes the joy of your heart and your joy is made full when you do it. Are your wishes filled and is your joy full? Take the Lord at His Word and do exactly as He has commanded us and you will see your prayers answered and your joy full.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Jesus came to do the Father’s will and He wants us to do His will.

John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

When you live this way then His desires will become your desires and your desire will be to fulfill His desire for your life. Your life will overflow with great joy even in the midst of trials and suffering.

Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus knew what it meant to have joy. Joy comes from living in His presence and His life being lived through you.

Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Jesus lived a joyful life and this is His will for you.

John 15:11 These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

 

 

A Life that Meditates

The word meditate means “talk to oneself” in the Hebrew language which is what the Old Testament is written in. The Lord has told us to meditate on His Word day and night. He offers some of the greatest rewards on earth to the one who meditates on His Word and is careful to do according to all that is written in it. He promises success in whatever you do if you will do this one thing.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

When we delight in His Word then it becomes our meditation day and night. We love it, we think about it , we seek to apply it to our lives and we let it talk to us. It is no wonder that the Lord calls this person blessed. One of the meanings of “blessed” is happy. Happy is the person who delights in the Lord and meditates on His Word.

Psalm 1:1,2 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

Meditation is putting God’s Word in your heart so that you can think about it and apply it to your life every minute of every day. It teaches you the way in which you should walk. It makes the Lord’s Word become a reality to you all of the time. It removes the doubts of life.

Psalm 4:4-8 Tremble, and do not sin;
Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And trust in the Lord.

Many are saying, “Who will show us any good?”
Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!
You have put gladness in my heart,
More than when their grain and new wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep,
For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.

The one who meditates on their bed will lie down and sleep and their sleep will be sweet because the Lord makes them dwell in safety. It can’t get any better than to wake up in the middle of the night and meditate on His Word. The Lord says that He will counsel you through the night and that His Word is His counsel.

Psalm 63:6 When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches,

The spirit of man connects with the Spirit of the Lord and there is a oneness when one meditates on His Word.

Psalm 77:6 I will remember my song in the night;
I will meditate with my heart,
And my spirit ponders:

When one meditates on the Lord and His Word then he has a love for God’s Word and will want to praise Him and life up His hands to His commandments.

Psalm 119:48 And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments,
Which I love;
And I will meditate on Your statutes.

You will want to regard His Ways and live according to them when you learn to meditate.

Psalm 119:15 I will meditate on Your precepts And regard Your ways.

You will have more insight than your teachers if His Word is your meditation.

Psalm 119:99 I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.

Do you want to love His Word? If so, then make it your meditation. We meditate out of obedience to the Lord and desire to please Him and then it becomes our delight. Once you love it then it becomes the joy of your heart and just like you don’t have to discipline yourself to spend time with someone you love, neither will it be a discipline but the very thing that you long to do. It becomes the sweetest time of the day and when you do it day and night then your life really becomes sweet.

Psalm 119:97 O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.

Beware of when the Word of God is no longer a delight. When church has become a burden and there is not much desire to have a quiet time with the Lord.

Jeremiah 6:10 To whom shall I speak and give warning That they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed And they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the Lord has become a reproach to them; They have no delight in it.

Ask the Lord to help you if you no longer long for Him or have that excitement that you had when you first became a Christian. Ask Him to restore to you the joy of your salvation and that hunger to know Him that you had earlier. Then get into His Word and keep getting into it until He speaks to you. If you have been called by His name, that is, if you are a Christian then you know that He wants you to sit at His feet and listen to Him teach you from His Word.

Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.

He will restore you and sustain you if you turn to Him with all of your heart. He wants you to live in the promised land, that life that trusts in and sees His promises fulfilled every day. The promised land is a land of milk and honey. It is good for you and sweet. He loves you and He came that you might have an abundant life.

 

A Life that Forgives

There are certain commands that carry much greater weight than others and the command to forgive seems to be one of the most important. A lack of forgiveness brings about one of the worse consequences that is mentioned in the Bible. The Lord said that if you do not forgive others then your sins will not be forgiven you.

Matthew 5:14,15 For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.

Forgiveness also brings a great blessing from the Lord because He says that if you forgive others then your sins will be forgiven you. We are all sinners who have sinned greatly against the Lord and we desperately need forgiveness from God, the Father. In the same way, we need to desperately forgive others of their sins. You receive what you give away and what you withhold will be withheld from you.

Mark 11:25,26 Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.”

The meaning of evil is to cause grief. It is hard to forgive when someone has caused us grief and especially great grief. However, when we see what a great debt that we have toward the Lord and the great grief that we have caused Him then we lean more toward forgiving. However, forgiving is impossible apart from the Lord. He has given you forgiveness and this is the forgiveness that you offer to others. Jesus has forgiven you and Jesus has forgiven them. We can only forgive by the power of the Holy Spirit.

John 20:22,23 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

We forgive by faith, in the power of the Holy Spirit in obedience to Him, not by feeling. Our flesh will never want to forgive and does not have the power to do so.

Romans 8:6-8 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

When you forgive then the Lord releases you from the bitterness and resentment of unforgiveness. You actually are the one who is set free. The person does not have to even be aware of their wrong towards you and they do not have to be sorry for what they did. If they are sorry and repentant then that is wonderful but it is not a prerequisite to you forgiving them. Healing for you comes after forgiveness. There is no pain so great that the Lord can not heal but first you must forgive. He does not hold your sin against you because He has forgiven you. Forgiveness is the promise never to bring it up again. How many times are we to forgive? That is a great question and Jesus answered it for us.

Matthew 18:21,22 Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.

Forgiveness is so important that the Lord told a parable about forgiveness to allow His hearers to understand more clearly what He was saying about forgiveness.

Matthew 18:23-35 For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. When he had begun to settle them, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. But since he did not have the means to repay, his lord commanded him to be sold, along with his wife and children and all that he had, and repayment to be made. So the slave fell to the ground and prostrated himself before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you everything.’ And the lord of that slave felt compassion and released him and forgave him the debt. But that slave went out and found one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and he seized him and began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay back what you owe.’ So his fellow slave fell to the ground and began to plead with him, saying, ‘Have patience with me and I will repay you.’ But he was unwilling and went and threw him in prison until he should pay back what was owed. So when his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were deeply grieved and came and reported to their lord all that had happened. Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

He who has ears to hear, let him hear. A day of accounting is coming and it will be too late to settle your accounts with your fellow man. For this reason it is of utmost importance to “keep your accounts up to date”. God declared the man wicked in this story because of his unwillingness to forgive someone else and therefore all of this wicked person’s sins were still on his account and were not wiped out and forgiven. Forgiveness is a matter of the will. It is letting it go and giving it to the Lord. You can’t, He never said you could, He can, He always said He would. Give the matter to the Lord and He will forgive that person through you by the power of His Holy Spirit. As long as you have unforgiveness in your heart then you are in a prison. However, you can settle the account with that person who owes you through your forgiveness by forgiving him. It is after this that you will be released from your prison.

Luke 7:47,48 For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”

Did Jesus offer forgiveness to you? Yes, He did. Go and do likewise that you too may hear the words, “Your sins have been forgiven”.  Forgiveness begins with the prayer, “Lord, I forgive _________. Please forgive me of my unforgiveness and by faith I have forgiven _________. Then you will love much because you too will see how great a debt that you were forgiven by our Lord. Your slate will be wiped clean. You may have to forgive over and over again because the devil might continue to bring it up again but the devil hates to see you forgive and call on the Lord so he will quit bringing it up to you. It is hard to believe when you are in the pain but healing will come and the Lord will truly make something beautiful our of your life.