LOVING YOUR ENEMIES
Yesterday I came with a clean slate before Father enquiring what He wants me to write about. In fact, nothing I write is because it is initiated by me, instead I wait on Him. So this devotional is no different.
He said, “I want you to write about My love”.
“No easy task”, I replied, thinking who is truly sufficient to talk about His love.
I was surprised to see the direction He went in with regard to this subject – loving your enemies. This morning I also woke up with the number 341 on my heart, and the Holy Spirit kept on repeating it to me until I eventually searched for it in the Strong’s Concordance.
H341 – The word Oyeb – enemy (personal or national)
Should there be any doubt in my heart that He wants me to specifically talk about this, especially in the current political climate right across the world?
I watched a YouTube video of someone yesterday that differs vastly from my doctrinal view. In fact two videos came my way of which the one I was very disappointed. It is obvious the Lord is using these two people in dreams and visions and that He loves them very much. And there are many more out there. Why does God use people who are obviously deceived? Why is He using them with dreams and visions that very often are undeniably from Him? This bothered me because truth is vital in this day and age. I felt almost as if He was letting it “slide”. I know this is not true, but it was troubling me for a while now and just made no sense. My first response was utter disgust because this lady completely disappointed me in her view of the Lord and was downright blasphemous! I immediately unsubscribed. When I asked Father His view on it, He reminded me that there was a time when I was very deceived myself whilst serving Him. And He used me then and loved me right through it. He simply said, “They are still My children”. All I could do was cry about the mercy He has shown me. If He did not where would I be? If He just left me to go on my wayward way, whether out of ignorance or disobedience, where would I be today? Where would you be? The question for me now is, “When is it a wolf and when is it sheep deceived?”
Maybe we are quick to say that they are not our enemies, but I am reminded by our Lord’s admonishment regarding our enemies. We are to love them. Of course we would like a middle ground on this one, and yet He is calling us to be perfect. Saying that perfection in Him is only done in this way…by loving our enemies. Not begrudgingly tolerating them at best, or endure or bear them patiently and be nice. He is saying, “Love them”.
I have been aware of how easily the children of God become offended. We are so fickle when it comes to anyone that disagree with us or disappoint us. So easily we write someone off, because they no longer hold our interest or the perfect picture we had of them. Do you still get offended if your hard work is not appreciated, or you hear that someone spoke ill of you to another? Do you still break down when you do not receive that love from your wife or husband you so desire? These are all the categories He uses to mold us into vessels that will be able to contain His unconditional love. But are you seeing it as He sees it? And so instead of lovingly enduring and praying for them, we let them go on their way, never even considering that we are to pray and intercede for them. We are offended because they have moved on and in our hearts it serves as confirmation that we were right. But are we? What is it that He wants? Sadly one infraction is all it takes to make a relationship crumble. Jesus said blessed is he who are not offended in Me. This is not a blessing for those who do not get offended. This is a mode of being for those who are in Him…they are blessed. And therefore, because of their unity with Him, they are not offended. For can God be offended? Does our sin offend Him? God is not insecure. That would indicate that we have a certain control over Him. But He is holy and what He requires is this perfection. He is love, and love endures all things, bears all things, believes all things and hopes all things. Love can suffer the loss of esteem and affection and not be offended. It knows that the saints are in different places of maturity. It does not need that affirmation.
Our love for Him is not measured by how we show Him affection, but by how we love one another. “Peter, loveth thou Me, then feed My sheep”. If we cannot love our friends, how shall we love our enemies, those who have every intention of causing us suffering and even death? We cannot feign this love when it comes to our enemies.
Only Christ in us can love like this. Are we not to welcome this pruning that produces more fruit that we may be able to love this way? Is our testing then not our blessing? For it is our provision. Can you believe that they are employed for your ultimate sanctification so that He may baptize you with His fire? We read in Matthew 5 that He says that we are to love our enemies that we may be sons of God. This is God’s provision for sonship. Except your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees, you are in no way to enter the Kingdom of God…God is ultimate!
This love transcends doctrinal differences and even truth as we see it, that is to say it does not override it, but rather love covers a multitude of sin. This is not a mandate to overlook doctrinal error, but rather to love in spite of them. But do you have an ear to hear from Him what He requires of you to do. When to speak and to speak the truth in love? Will that truth be spoken in authentic love?
The capstone of being perfect as your Father in heaven is loving your enemy, domestic or nationally...or any other kind. What are we then to say of the patriotic fervor going through this world. The beating of wardrums are getting louder right across this earth. Can you bear to love your Democratic or Republican neighbor? Can you dare to love the Iranians, Chinese, or Russians? Those Communists that embodies the spirit of anti-Christ? The Word says in Matthew 24: 12, And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. If love has grown this freezing cold now, how will it be at the end of the tribulation? Do you get offended when others wear masks and you do not? Does it offend you that they are willing to take the "VC" out of ignorance and are unwilling to listen to reason? Have you considered the fact that the decline of the temperature of your love for those brethren in Christ, that do not feel the same way as you about all these topics, are the very agenda of the enemy. To cause our love to wax cold as we judge each other in our hearts whilst outwardly saying "I love you with the love of the Lord"? What then will your response be when your enemy throws you in prison and threatens your life. The eye of self-love will only see an enemy who is to be feared and resisted. But will we be able to see with His eyes, knowing all. For He knows this enemy was treated so badly in life that indoctrination was inevitable. Where his circumstances was that of a poor little boy that had no mother and father, but decided that the only way to survive is to join his country's military. Every time the enemy ensured that blows were given that will install into him such a pure hatred for that which is of God, that all he can do is hate. Can we see with His eyes?
Whilst I was typing this, a friend of mine started talking to me on whatsapp. Little did I know that it would be a divine appointment. For some reason we started talking about the present fears that are enveloping this world and how everyone in the last year have become so opinionated. One has to ask, "Are we serving the same God?" She started giving me her testimony of when she was raped a few years ago. I did not know about this. She is such a soft hearted person and my heart just broke. She spoke a bit about how this man had every intention to degrade her by getting up afterwards and laughing at her. Wanting not only to violate her body, but also to leave His mark on her soul. But she said the following to me, which I believe Father ordained to be in this devotional. She did not know what my devotional was about.
"What he thought would destroy me actually came and added to my worth and my worth in Christ, and he did not even realize it. And now today I can say "Praise you Lord for that which you allowed in my life."
She said that the enemy has tried to put a mark on her, but he failed. Because her whole heart is already marked and she fears no mark. Her body may be here on earth, but she resides in heaven. She said even though he was violating her body, the truth is, it was His body. She soon realized that she was not going to allow what he wanted to leave behind in her through this horrible act, to cause her to be imprisoned. But rather, as one going to him in prison now and saying, "For you I pray that you may know Him".
This touched me so deeply and her view is so different to so many. What got me was her childlike faith. So secure in the Lord. And this is the heart of it...faith worketh by love. The word says that he who fears has not been made perfect in love, for perfect love casts away ALL fear.
Paul was a prolific Pharisee with quite a resumé. Doing God's work according to him, he took an eye for an eye very seriously and from his hands many believers of "The Way" were killed and inprisoned. That was until he saw Stephen with the glory of God on his face as he was being stoned to death. His next meeting was with the One he was actually persecuting. For persecuting them, was persecuting Christ. And the man who once killed because he thought he was doing God's work, gave his very life for those he once hated, even unto death. This is the same man that wrote of the love that took him captive. The love that hopes all things, believes all things and endures all things. I am reminded of Richard Wurmbrandt's autobiography called "Tortured for Christ". Each time they found him praying they would brutally beat him under his feet until they became a pulp. One day the prison guard stormed into his very tiny room and demanded to know why he was praying when it was obvious that his friends, family and God have forsaken him. And he replied, "It is not for them I am praying, but for you". Out of all the testimonies, especially of those who were martyred, the love for their enemies was their enemy's undoing. Jesus said, as My Father sent Me, so send I you.
In these last minutes of this age and knowing He has shown me what I will have to endure, I no longer see spiritual power for doing great miracles as my utmost need. For when I am weak, His strength is made perfect when I will be in the midst of those who will seek to kill me. Those who will want to violate my body...His body. The issue is not will I be able to display great miracles and power, but will I display His Divine love? That is the power and manifold wisdom of God...the love of God for His enemies. Art Katz says that God has a propensity towards His enemies and He wins them over with His love. Stephen's death was the soil upon which Christ could plant the Seed of life. In the same way many will lay their lives down so that their enemy may find Life. Where the heartbeat of this world is to kill, murder, divide and hate, will my heart beat with His love? For whilst I was still a sinner, He died for me. Greater is our debt to Him than any man can owe us, and yet He died for us. Oh, how I need His love!