14th July 2012

The Only Sensible Response – Be A Blessing

“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
Romans 12:14 (NKJV)

There are some things we are asked to do as Christians that are very difficult, that cut across the grain of our human nature and this response is one of them.  Jesus mentions this in the ‘sermon on the mount’, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,” (Matthew 5:44)

It is because it is so difficult that it is important and receives much attention in the writings of the New Testament.  This is a response that is truly unnatural and demands a mind that is in harmony with God’s own mind; a mind that is aware of what God has done for us and is determined to respond in the only sensible way, and that is to do what is pleasing to God.

It is much more natural to bear a grudge, often for many years, or seek revenge when we are dealt with in a spiteful way.  What we must come to see is that these responses are extremely immature and driven by the dark side of our nature.

But notice carefully that the encouragement is to ‘bless’ those who persecute you, it is not just to ignore or rise above it.  This seems like rubbing salt into the wound but this is the mind of God that we are talking about:  God, who so loved his enemies, that he died for them in order to save them, as we read in Romans 5:8 & 10, “But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us…. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his son…”

We might think this is impossible for us to do, and of ourselves it probably is.  But God is not interested in what we can do, how good we are, or what strength of character we have, he is interested only in what we will allow him to do in us.  Again the apostle Paul leads us in this understanding:  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)  Read also Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NKJV)

So, no matter how difficult it may seem, it is possible with God.  We need to seek him and to ask for his ability to make it possible for us to live as he would have us live because when we consider what God has done for us it is our only sensible response.

Prayer
Father in heaven, with whom all things are possible, we recognise our weakness and failings.  Thought we want to do everything that is pleasing to you we see, of ourselves, our inability to do so.  Please strengthen us with your mind and your Spirit that we can respond appropriately to all you have done for us.
Amen

Study by David Stirk

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