Monday, March 29, 2010

The Christ follower's real strength

Luke 6:27-31: "But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. 29 To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. 30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”

There are some attitudes and characteristics that are distinctive for the Christian. The true and genuine Christ follower should be living their lives in contrast to this world. The very reason Jesus mentioned these few attributes was because it is dissimilar to the ethos of the world. The world says we should look out for number one “ourselves”; that it is ok to be greedy and that we should pay back evil with evil. The life Jesus portrayed during the three years of His ministry, told His disciples that we should strive to live in rebellion to the world’s standard. The Christ follower must live in this world, but we are not supposed to be of this world.

Was Jesus really meaning that we are to, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, "bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.”? Yes, we are told that we are to love with the same love that God displayed. The world hates, the world curses, the world returns bad for bad. Jesus was telling His disciples not to lower their standards to the worlds, but rather live above them. God loved this world even when it has turned its back on Him. One of the greatest displays of love was when Jesus was hanging on a cross, and asked the Father to forgive the very men who were mocking Him. This is ground breaking and radical love that will change people’s hearts. When the love of Jesus was seen on the cross, another man who was condemned to die had his heart changed because of how Jesus loved.

We live in a world void of love. Hatred and pain are what graces the headlines. True and genuine love is a rarity. However, for the Christ follower it should be our defining characteristic. These are not just principles that we should strive to reach one day or ideals from which we can develop a code of ethics. Jesus is the code we should live by, and anything less then what He commanded is not worthy of a Christ follower. In order to be salt and light in this world we need to be the exception in this world. What would your family life be like if you started living this scripture? What would your neighborhood, your church, and your job be like? How many people can we influence by living the way Jesus told us to live?

Tomorrows Readings:
Old Testament: Judges 1-2 New Testament Luke 6:27-49

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