Read His Words Before Ours!
“I hate you!” your overly emotional daughter rages, slamming her bedroom door in your face.
Spiritual swords clash, unheard, but very real, and very loud.
“I think my husband is cheating on me,” your friend confides, tears of confusion and disbelief falling into her untouched cup of coffee.
Flaming arrows are flying, unseen, but aimed directly at our hearts.
EVERY day is full of epic battles.
Satan hands us his weaponry:
Anger, fear, frustration, bitterness, and self-righteousness.
He wants us to attack each other instead of fight against him!
With our enemy in sight, Paul urges us to choose God’s armor, complete with belt, breastplate, helmet, shield, shoes, and sword. I personally envision a powerful Roman soldier dressed for battle, protected head to toe, armed and ready against any foe.
Considering how to “stand firm” against the enemy, another word from Paul in Colossians encourages Believers to also prepare in a very different way.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:12-14)
I picture a woman applying her makeup and carefully selecting her outfit.
She is ordinary, like you and me.
She doesn’t look like a Roman soldier, but she’s just as ready for battle as she cares for her children, interacts with her husband, runs errands, completes tasks at the office, or practices with the worship team.
In God’s kingdom,
everything is turned around and upside down
from the world’s perspective.
As soldiers in God’s army, we are to be characterized by LOVE.
When a disgruntled co-worker complains, again, love responds with kindness, flashing a GENUINE smile or, even better, complimenting him.
When a rude driver cuts you off, love shows self-control refraining from cursing or flashing a finger.
When your mother-in-law comments negatively about your parenting style, love gently changes the subject, maybe asking the recipe for her delicious apple pie.
When your child wakes up in the middle of the night, scared and screaming, love rocks him back to sleep, joyful you have a baby to hold in your arms.
When a homeless man holds up a cardboard sign, love refuses to make judgments about his situation, but offers him a bag of snacks and hygiene items instead.
When your cousin shares she is transitioning genders, love rejects condemnation, instead inviting her to coffee patiently listening to her story.
Love shares YOUR story of how God’s redemption is transforming your life.
Love ask if you could pray for someone.
The enemy would have us do battle according to our worldly, fleshly desires.
Our words. Our judgments. Our standards. (1 Peter 4:3)
God’s Word, however, is consistent, straight forward, and VERY simple.
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
No “when it’s convenient, comfortable, or easy” clauses.
Just as God has loved YOU, love others. (1 John 3:16-18)
Just as God has forgiven YOU, forgive others. (Matthew 6:14-15)
In the same way God has given you second and third and 435th chances, do to others.
ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S THE HARDEST TO DO SO.
Love for these…
Frustrating family members.
Persons of a different sexual orientation.
Persons with a different faith.
Those from a different country.
We have ALL experienced the love of God without regard to race, gender, ethnicity, economic status, age, or any other earthly label.
“…but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
We are called to live out this SAME love.
“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
(1 John 4:11)
God love is inconvenient, uncomfortable and EXTREMELY costly.
During His final days on earth, Jesus was arrested, mocked, beaten, and crucified. In the most brutal death possible at the time, He was stretched across rugged timber, hands and feet nailed to the cross.
He died in love that we might live for love.
With this love, love others. (Ephesians 3:14-21)
With a new battle plan that doesn’t use the enemy’s weapons.
Instead, plan sneak attacks of forgiveness, ambush with kindness, overwhelm even our enemies with compassion, grace, and mercy.
Peter’s letter calls us to bravely link arms with those around us, joining forces, allowing LOVE to bind us together, making us strong for battle.
The world is surprised when we live out love. (1 Peter 4:4)
The gospel is preached when we lovingly speak gracefully and truthfully of the extravagant love Jesus generously gives us!
The war is real.
The end of all things is near.
And so Peter calls us to arms, urging us to “maintain constant love for one another.”
Because the battle never wains.
Because it’s the only weapon that has already won the war.
Ready for more? Dig Deeper!
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