Lessons from Luke

At the end of our lives here on earth, we all want to hear God say: “well done, good and faithful servant”

Kingdom Values – Part II

Key Verse: Luke 6:27

“But to you who are willing to listen, I say, love your enemies! Do good to those who hate you.”

Additional Reading: Luke 6:27-36

As we move into this section of Jesus’s teaching, we move into the “deep end of the pool”!

These verses are easy to talk about but very hard to put into practice on a consistent basis. However, anyone who truly wants to be a Christ-follower, must follow Jesus’s teachings – all of them! Christ-followers who simply “cherry pick” the easier teachings of Jesus are never going to mature in Him and make a difference in their world.

At the end of our lives, here on earth, we all want to hear the words, “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). Look again at this sentence, “well done…”, not “good knowledge” or “good theology”! Jesus is looking for followers who do what He has taught them to do!

The first thing Jesus mentions in this section of His teachings is to “love your enemies”.

Remember, Jesus was not talking about feelings when He spoke about love. He was speaking about our actions toward another person, whether we felt kindly toward them or we didn’t really want to be in their presence. We have the power to show loving actions even when we don’t feel loving toward someone.

John 3:16, a famous verse in the Bible, reminds us of how God loves us: “For God so loved the world that He GAVE His only son, that whoever believes in Him might be saved” (emphasis mine). God modeled the kind of love He expects from us; we are to do good things for others. John 14:15 says, in the CEV version, “Jesus said to his disciples: if you love me, you will do as I command”. Throughout the New Testament, we see this emphasis on the actions rather than the feelings of Christ-followers.

This idea of love being an action rather than a feeling is good news, when we think about it. Our feelings are so fickle. Sometimes for no apparent reason we can feel down in the dumps or frustrated. Five minutes later we can feel great! If God asked us to “feel” love for our enemies, we would all be in trouble. In a very real sense, we can’t help the way we feel but we can act in loving ways no matter how we feel.

If you are struggling with feelings of anger or hatred toward someone, be sure to do something or say something nice to them the next time you see them. I can hear some of you saying: “that sounds hypocritical”. However, I believe that if we act in love in all our relationships (no matter how we feel), it won’t be long before we do feel some kindness and love in that relationship. The old saying is true, actions come first, feelings follow!

Jesus goes on to explain how to love an enemy: “Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you”. (Luke 6:28). Have you ever tried to pray for someone that you have a bad relationship with? I have, and it’s hard to feel authentic in doing so. I usually tell the Lord that I can’t feel good toward them, but I pray for His goodness to bless them. I’m so glad God knows about our human feelings and weaknesses, and only demands what He knows we can do, and that is, act even in the absence of feelings.

Let’s remind ourselves that the reason we are challenging ourselves with this is because it is a Kingdom of God value! I’m sure you want to be a part of His Kingdom; lets act like it!

Father, remind me how to act when someone angers me! In Jesus’s Name, amen.

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