Thursday, July 05, 2018

Love Your Enemies

Today's Reading:
Jeremiah 51:1-53
Matthew 5:27-48
Proverbs 9:13-18
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Focus Verses:
 Matthew 5:43-48
43 "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Love is imperfect and incomplete if it is only given to those who respond with love. Love is made complete when it is given to those who are undeserving, unresponsive, and perhaps even unrighteous. That is the way God loves.

Response and Action:
Jesus calls me to love my enemies and to pray for those who persecute me. The reason for doing this is not necessarily because they will be responsive to me, but rather because I am being responsive to God. I am guided by the example of Christ's love. If I am a child of God, I must love as the Father loves.

O God, help me to turn away from what is wrong and do what is right. Help me to love you with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. And help me to love my neighbor as myself. Lead me away from temptation and deliver me from evil. Provide for my needs today. Protect me from discouragement and encourage me by your Spirit through your word, your people, your promises, and all that is beautiful and true. Help me to do the good things you've prepared in advance for me to do. Help me to be faithful, fruitful, and effective as your servant, as a spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend, neighbor, co-worker, stranger, and enemy. Through Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Mark 12:28-31
28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?" 29 "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: 'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' 31 The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no commandment greater than these."

The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others
by Scot McKnight

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