How Can I Love My Enemy?

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Bible Verses

Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, (45) So that you may become sons of your Father who is in the heavens,

Consider this:

  There are many sins which we do not realize are sins. But once we know, we should say, “God, I have sinned! I need Christ to live out His life!” I can testify that once someone mistreated me and I said a few rash words to him/her. I knew that it was wrong to say rash words to others, but I argued that this person were more wrong than I, and that he/she had not apologized to me. I was wrong only a little. Should I have apologized to him/her instead? Yes, God wanted me to do this. The person had offended me, but I had forgiven him and was no longer angry with him. Yet I still had to apologize. I thought I was doing quite good already, but I was still short of the standard of Matthew 5, which says that we have to love our enemies.

...I had written a letter acknowledging my rash words, but since I could not love him/her, I decided I would not send the letter. I decided that I would write another one when I could love him/her. I did not hate him, and I had forgiven him/her, but I could not love him/her. Only God could love him/her. God says that loving is the truth and not loving is sin. I wanted to overcome, and I wanted to fight with faith. I said to the Lord, “If You do not cause me to love him/her, I cannot love him/her.” When I said that I could not love and that God is the only One who can love, I found myself loving the person. On the one hand, the truth tells us that we should love. On the other hand, grace supplies us with the strength to love. Such dealings sometimes take a few seconds and sometimes take a few days.

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Learning the Secret

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Bible Verses

Phil 4:11 Not that I speak according to lack, for I have learned, in whatever circumstances I am, to be content. 12 I know also how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to hunger, both to abound and to lack. 13 I am able to do all things in Him who empowers me.

Consider this:

(Part 1 of 2) In teaching people to do things, even insignificant things, we mainly teach them the secret. This is true, for example, in teaching someone the art of barbecuing meat. If a person does not learn the secret of barbecuing, he may ruin the meat. One side may be overdone, and the other side raw. Likewise, we may not know the secret of sufficiency in Christ found in Philippians 4. We may talk a great deal about the book of Philippians, but not know the secret of experiencing Christ. I say again, in chapter four we have the secret and the power. On the one hand, Paul says, "I have learned the secret" (v. 12); on the other hand, he testifies, "I can do all things in Him Who empowers me" (v. 13).

The words "I have learned the secret" are an interpretation of the Greek word which means "I have been initiated." The metaphor is that of a person being initiated into a secret society with instruction in its rudimentary principles. Paul had not only learned a secret; he had been initiated and had learned certain basic principles. Among the Greeks there were a number of secret societies. Anyone who was to become a member of such a society had to learn the rudimentary principles of that society. Others had to initiate him into the society by instructing him in its principles. By using this metaphor, Paul was saying that a church, which is rather mysterious, has certain basic principles. After Paul was converted to Christ, he was in a sense initiated into the church life. This means that he was instructed in the secret of how to enjoy Christ, how to take Christ as life, how to live Christ, how to magnify Christ, how to gain Christ, and also how to have the church life. These are the rudimentary principles of the church life. (Continued tomorrow)

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The Spiritual Significance of Idols

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Bible Verses

Gen 35:1 And God said to Jacob, Rise up, go up to Bethel, and dwell there.... (2) Then Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, Put away the foreign gods that are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your garments. (3) And let us rise up and go up to Bethel, that I may make an altar there to God... Phil 3:19 Whose end is destruction, whose god is their stomach, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.

Consider this:

Jacob told his household and all that were with him to put away the foreign gods that were among them....Many may claim that they have never had anything to do with idols. Materially speaking, it may be true to say that you have no idols. But we must know, spiritually speaking, what an idol is. An idol is anything that replaces God. Your education, your ambition, your position, your name, your desire, and your intention may replace God in your life and thus become idols. If you view the matter in this light, then you will have to admit that you have had many foreign gods.

People worship idols for the sake of gaining long life and happiness. Satan threatens people, telling them that if they do not worship idols, they will not have long life and happiness, but that if they worship idols, then they will have long life and happiness. Happiness includes many things: money, position, ambition, fame, a name. Many have idols due to their desire to be healthy. Why do you have something that replaces God? Simply because that thing may make you happy....Today, man has lost God and, pursuing foreign gods, seeks his happiness in idols. But God is our long life and happiness.

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