In Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus calls for us to love in a very different way from the world. In the world, people love only those that are close to them, and they love only their friends while hating their enemies. In this passage, Jesus calls for us to a higher love that is different from the world, loving even those that try to “despitefully use us.” What man or woman could possibly love in this way, save our Lord and Savior, Jesus? But, if we are Christians, saved by Jesus, we do nothing on our own power (John 15:5). We can only love in this amazing way through God’s power. Even for Christian, however, this is sometimes easier said than done. Learning to lean on God’s power and to do His Will with His Power instead of our own can be a difficult lesson to learn for some Christians, but over time, we all do learn this lesson as God works continuously in us teaching us all such spiritual lessons.
For the world, though, not only is this way of loving enemies beyond their understanding, but they also have a very difficult time grasping the tremendous power that Christians receive from our Amazing God. I remember seeing a prime example of the world’s inability to understand such spiritual principles when I was watching the animated film Prince of Egypt with my children back in the late 90’s. If you’ve seen the movie, you know that it was based on the Biblical story of Moses in the book of Exodus. At the time, my wife and I were pleased that Hollywood would even produce any such movie, animated or otherwise, with Biblical subject matter because there were very few such movies during the 70’s, 80’s, and much of the 90’s that were serious and respectful. Interestingly, when they produced such movies, there was still some misunderstanding of the spiritual principles and values, even when they were trying to do a good job, trying to be respectful. One song in the soundtrack of this movie was particularly ironic, exposing the inability of the producers and writers to understand the values and the power that are inherent in a Christian’s walk with God.
The song was “When You Believe.” It was beautifully sung by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, but the lyrics were ironic and even silly to a person of Christian faith. Three lines that stood out in particular were: “Who knows what miracles you can achieve, when you believe, somehow you will, you will when you believe.” Of course, any Christian with the Holy Spirit living within them would recognize the irony in these lines. Miracles are not “achieved” by our strength of will to believe that we generate within ourselves, and our faith is certainly not an achievement. It is, instead, a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8). Moreover, Faith has nothing to do with our confidence, assertiveness, or our strength of will. Faith is the power of God working within us and only increases over time because God continues His work in us without ceasing as long as we are in this body and this life. We do not “muster up” more faith when we need it because doing so is inherently confidence in self rather than in God. God must develop our faith over time as we go through trials and testing, and He gives us greater bursts of spiritual power at certain times to help us through special times of testing. But the sufficiency is always of God and is not within our human power to “achieve.”
But such spiritual truths are impossible for the world to grasp because they do not have the Holy Spirit to enlighten them and to teach them, as we are all ignorant before we are taught of the Holy Spirit. Until God begins to work in any person leading up to and after the moment of salvation, all any of us know are the ways of the world, the ways of sin, pride, selfishness, etc.
I pray that God will fill you all with His Peace, Love, Wisdom, and Power so that you will walk in a way that is pleasing to Him and a blessing to all those around you.