One of the lessons Jesus taught during His earthly ministry was to pray for your enemies. He brought those words to life in a most powerful way as He prayed for those who nailed Him to the cross while He hung there dying. To pray for your enemies is one of those rungs on the spiritual maturity ladder we are all climbing each day. In our flesh, it is not something that we can do. It is one of those things that requires us to call on the power of God to help us follow the example of our Lord and pray for our enemies.
As our nation is involved in this war against those people in the world who would like to destroy us, we need to remember this lesson and pray for them. The fact is, Jesus died on that cross for their sins, just as much as He died for yours and mine. God loves them, just as much as He loves you and I. The same promise of everlasting life with God our Creator that we have is available to them as well. Even though they may currently reject Christ and His love for them, that doesn't mean one day their hearts may be opened up to that love. I think of a man named Saul of Tarsus who persecuted the early church. Seeing Christians dead was his goal. That is the same Saul who walked down the Damascus Road one day and had an encounter with Jesus! That is the same Saul who became Paul, one of the most powerful Christians ever.
Just so there is no confusion, I am in no way making a case for our nation NOT to do all we have to do to defend ourselves. Those in authority not only have the right, but the responsibility to defend the citizens of our country against those who would destroy us. Too many who are opposed to the war grossly err when they take the words of Jesus and other passages from the Bible that were meant for individuals, NOT nations, to try and support their anti-war position. Next week, I will do a Devotional giving a solid Biblical foundation for the United States to defend itself with military force.
The key of today's Devotional, however, is for us to not forget this powerful lesson our Lord taught us, and to pray for our enemies. There will always be people in our life that we have conflict with. There will always be people in our life we have disagreements with. Most of us will have people in our life who simply don't like us. Pray for these people. Pray that they will know God's love. Pray that above all else, they will come to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. I am not saying that you have to try and be best friends with them. I realize that it may be very difficult to even say a prayer for someone who has hurt you very badly, but this is what Christ has asked us to do. So ask God for the strength, and pray...really pray. God honors our obedience and blesses our faithfulness.
I love you and care about you very much. I understand that these are very difficult words for many of you to hear today. In many of your lives, the wounds another person has inflicted are still very fresh, and there is still much pain. The first step to recovery is taking a few moments and praying for whoever hurt you. Pray for the one who has injured you. Do what God has asked you to do, then leave it in His hands. You see, the alternative is hatred, bitterness, negative emotions that will bind you and keep you from being all God wants you to be. The reason we pray for our enemies is to release them to God, so that we are free to move on in our life, serving Him. Hatred and bitterness cannot only destroy you, they are like anchors that you carry around wherever you go. They keep you from knowing the peace, the joy, and the abundance God has promised you in this life. That is why we pray. Praying for your enemy allows you to shed that weight from your life and to move forward in all God has for you to do. Take a moment right now, stop what you are doing, and pray for your enemies. Pray for those who mean you harm. Pray for anyone who has come against you. I will be praying for you to call on the same supernatural power, Christ in his humanity called upon, and pray for your enemies today.