Anyone who says they hate in the name of Jesus is deceived.
Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” James 6:27-28
Does that mean love the white supremacist? Yes. Does that mean love ISIS members? Yes. Love Donald Trump? Yes. Love Hilary Clinton? Yes. Love Democrats? Yes. Love Republicans? Yes. Love all races? Yes. Love those you disagree with? Yes. A follower of Jesus is called to love ALL in His name.
That doesn’t mean we agree with all. It doesn’t mean we believe the same way. It doesn’t even mean we never stand up for what we believe or that we never fight evil.
Having hate in our hearts is something else.
Hate destroys the one it abides in.
Jesus goes on to say in 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 is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”
We all were enemies of God but He loved us anyway and sent Jesus to die for us. He shows us mercy every day. We are to pray for those who are caught up in hate and evil. We are to pray for our leaders. Having hate in our hearts won’t change anyone except to change us into bitter, angry people.
We can’t do it in our own strength but Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help us. With His power in us, we can love all, even our enemies.
S – “…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people….always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:4b-5,7
O – Paul is telling Timothy what it will be like in the last days.
A – I don’t want to love pleasure more than God! We have so much pleasure in our culture. It’s so easy to get caught up in good food, nice homes, vacations, clothes, entertainment, so much is right at our fingertips. The more we give our flesh, the more it wants. We can easily, I easily, slip into living for the next meal, the next fun event, the next “comfort”, the next purchase. But what’s that? Those are all temporary distractions. None of that means anything in eternity. Loving God is primary, loving God is supreme, loving God is for eternity. I don’t want to “appear” godly but have no power of the Spirit in my life or to always be learning but never really encounter the truth.
P – Please Jesus, help me to keep my love for you primary in my life. Help me know how to live in the world without living for the world and its pleasures. The pleasures aren’t sinful necessarily but they can turn my eyes from you. Please help me live in balance. Please Lord, help me live in the power of the Spirit, help me know truth.
SOAP Bible Study
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“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
Paul has been writing about living by the Holy Spirit vs. living by the flesh. He describes living in the Holy Spirit here and points out there is no law against the fruit of the Holy Spirit. This means we are free in the Spirit to produce these things. We ca indulge in love, joy…patience…kindness…self-control. We are free to live as much of these as we want. The BEST things of life we are free to indulge in!
Do I indulge in love? Joy? Patience? Kindness? Self-Control? I never have to limit these things. They can be produced bountifully. I should never resist these fruits but indulge in them. How can I indulge in joy today?
Thank you Jesus that the things that matter most in life – that which brings real life – are gifts of your Holy Spirit and can be freely indulged in. Please help me indulge in your fruit today. Help me love extravagantly. Help me be ridiculous in joy, abundant in kindness, outlandishly full of peace. Thank you for filling us with the gift and power of your Holy Spirit. Help me yield to Him without restraint as I resist my flesh!