Daily Devotional for Sunday April 3, 2011
There was Once a Man Named Saul of Tarsus
There was once a man named Saul of Tarsus. To the early Christians he was an evil man. He sought to kill those who followed Jesus Christ. One day on the road to Damascus, God visited Saul. Saul of Tarsus became Paul, one of the most powerful Christians that ever lived. A man God used to write a good portion of the New Testament and plant many of the early churches that still exist today. I have no doubt that those in the early church followed the example of Jesus and PRAYED FOR SAUL!!! Be like Jesus and pray for your enemies.
I am about to give you a quick spiritual test: What is your attitude towards your enemies? We all have those people in our life that we just can't get along with. We all have those people in our life that don't like us. We all have those people in our life that do not wish us well. What is your attitude towards those people? It is easy to like your friends, but how do you feel about those who do not like you?
On the ladder of spiritual maturity, this is a very big rung. How we feel about and deal with those people in our lives who are NOT our friends, is a major indicator of our spiritual growth and maturity.
Of course, our perfect example in this area is Jesus. How did He handle those who were involved in his death? He loved them, He forgave them, and He prayed for them. This becomes the standard that we must work to achieve in this area. We must love those who hate us. We must forgive those who mean to do us harm. We must pray for those who are out to get us. You see, the Bible says the Lord will fight for us, that the "battle is the Lord's."
The reason God fights for us is that we can get so weary, so worn out, that we become ineffective for God. We become so distracted in fighting those who oppose us, we lose sight of our mission which is to serve and glorify Him with our lives.
I realize today that you have people in your life who wish only the worst upon you. Love those people today, pray for them. Anyone who has allowed bitterness to become such a stronghold in their life needs our prayers. Those who allow bitterness and hatred to creep into their lives are to be pitied. They are hurting themselves, so out of that hurt, they lash out on those around them. Pray for them. Pray the Lord will grant them peace. Pray the Lord will take the hatred and bitterness from them and replace it with peace and joy. Love them.
How? In our own strength, it is NOT POSSIBLE to love or pray for our enemies. That is when we need to tap into the strength only God can give us. In our own strength, it is virtually impossible to love and pray for our enemies. But when we let God take over, when we call upon His strength, it is possible.
AND THIS IS WHAT THE LORD IS CALLING YOU TO DO TODAY!!!
Make a list right now of everyone in your life that means you harm. Make a list of your enemies. My suggestion is that you call each one or meet with each one and tell them you love them, forgive them, and are praying for them. If communicating with them is not possible, at least sit down each morning, and pray for them.
THIS IS WHAT GOD IS CALLING YOU TO DO TODAY!!!
I love you and care about you so much. I realize that these are difficult words to hear, and even more difficult to put into action. Trust me, there is a key of freedom attached with what I am telling you today. A freedom that you cannot begin to understand. This is a test, a spiritual test. I will pray for you today that you pass it with flying colors. It is no accident that you are reading these words today. God is clearly speaking to you.
Take a few minutes right now and pray for all of those in your life that are not your friends, those who are against you. Pray for their souls, and then pray the Lord will bless them and open their hearts to His love. God is calling you today to rise above the day-to-day emotions of life. Realize that the wars we fight are not of this earth, not of flesh and blood, but are spiritual. Pray for your enemies today, and be like Jesus!!!
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller